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2014-06-23

ASIA/MALAYSIA - "Allah" issue: for Christian leaders "serious repercussions on religious freedom"

Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - Christian leaders gathered in the "Christian Federation of Malaysia", an interdenominational organization, express strong disappointment after the Supreme Court ruling that confirms the ban on the Catholic weekly "Herald" to use the term "Allah" and launch an appeal for religious freedom in the country. In a statement sent to Fides Agency, the Federation said: "We continue to support that the decision of the Court of Appeal, upheld by the Federal Court, is seriously flawed in many respects. According to Justice, many erroneous and inaccurate observations had to be corrected. Now there will be serious negative consequences for the religious freedom of Christians in Malaysia".
"The Attorney General – recalls the text - had stressed, on October 20, 2013, that this decision relates solely to the use of the word 'Allah' in the Herald newspaper. Therefore we ask the government and the judiciary to publicly remember that the decision of the Federal Court is limited to the specific circumstances of the case and for Malaysian Christians to continue to have the right to use the word 'Allah' in the Bible, in religious functions and gatherings". In fact, the press notes, "there are already several cases pending before our courts regarding this issue. We will see if, in these other cases, the judges choose the path of defending freedom of religion and expression in Malaysia". "In the meantime - concludes the Federation - we ask the Christian community in Malaysia to remain steadfast in their faith in the face of such prolonged adversity". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/06/2014)

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