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Monday, January 4, 2010

Nik Aziz: Non-Muslims can use ‘Allah’ - The Malaysian Insider

By Mohd Zuharman
KOTA BARU, Jan 3 – PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat has come out in support of the Catholic weekly Herald use of ‘Allah’ to describe the Christian God in the national language, saying it was permissible for those following the Abrahamic faith.
But the popular cleric expressed worry that the word “Allah” could be abused by certain quarters, echoing growing sentiment of Muslim Malaysians aghast at the Dec 31 High Court ruling that permitted its use.
“Its just a fear it can be abused. That’s the worry,” the Kelantan mentri besar said today when commenting on the landmark ruling.
Justice  Datuk Lau Bee Lan said in her oral judgment that the Herald had a constitutional right to use the word, touching off a controversy that has led some Muslim groups to protest the ruling.
The government has said it will appeal against the ruling. A group has already started a Facebook group to get the government to reverse the ruling.
However, others including influential cleric and former Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainal Abidin, have supported the ruling, saying all are encouraged to follow Allah.
Speaking to reporters after launching the state Women, Family and Health Development Secretariat, Nik Aziz said the authorities, such as scholars, should have a dialogue with the Christian clergy over the issue.
“This is so that there is no confusion among the society.
“In fact, Islamic philosophy itself can be spread through such events,” he added.
The PAS Kelantan commissioner also said he was willing to attend such events if it was organised.
However, PAS Kelantan Council of Religious Scholars chief Datuk Mohammad Daud Iraqi declined to comment on the issue.
Instead, he said it was weaknesses in the government in monitoring the issue that has led to the controversy.
“This is not a new issue, it has gone on so long. The government should have looked specifically into the laws earlier on,” he added.

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