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Muslim Bodies Seek To Stay Catholic Herald Case

The Kuala Lumpur High Court Friday (21 Nov) set Feb 27 to hear the case regarding the use of the word 'Allah' by a Catholic weekly but eight Muslim agencies gave notice they would file for a stay of proceedings instead.

Judge Lau Bee Lan said that the date was set to allow all parties time to file their affidavits. However, speaking to reporters after today's hearing, Mubashir Mansor, one of the counsel for the state Islamic councils, said they will apply for a stay of proceedings instead. This is to enable them to seek a decision from the Federal Court to say that no court of law can hear cases such as this.

Initially, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, who is the publisher of the Herald-The Catholic Weekly, had indicated they would object to effort by the various parties to intervene in their case. But their lawyer, Porres Royan, said the Archbishop had instructed them not to proceed with the objection.

The state Islamic councils of Selangor, Terengganu, Melaka, Kedah, Johor, Penang, Fedeal Territory, and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association have applied to intervene in the case. The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council has also applied to intervene as they felt they would be affected by whatever outcome of the case since they also use the word 'Allah' in their Holy Book.

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur has applied for a judicial review of a Home Minister's directive forbidding the Herald publishers from using the word 'Allah'.

The Archbishop's counsel said that the directive is unlawful under the Federal Constitution and that the word is not exclusive to Islam.

On 5 Dec 2007, the Catholic Church applied to the Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek a declaration on the use of the word.

The respondents are the Home Minister and the Government. The archbishop is seeking to quash the decision of the Internal Security Minister in a subsequent letter dated 12 Feb 2008, which imposed conditions on the publishing permit of The Herald, a Catholic weekly. Among the conditions was a prohibition on the use of the word "Allah." - By Bob Teoh (Mysinchew)

MySinchew 2008.02.21



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