Malaysian Sikhs join debate over use of the word ‘Allah’

July 4th, 2008 - 11:32 am ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 4 (IANS) Malaysia’s 100,000-strong Sikh community is the latest party seeking to intervene in the suit by the Catholic church over the use of the word Allah. The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council filed an application to intervene in the suit Tuesday. In a supporting affidavit, its president Jagir Singh said the word Allah in reference to god was an integral part of the original version of the Sikh holy book, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

As such, he said, no followers of the Sikh religion would tolerate any form of obstruction on the use of the original terms taken from the holy book, The Star newspaper reported Friday.

Jagir Singh said the council, the umbrella body of some 130 gurdwaras nationwide, had an interest in the declaration sought by the applicant of the suit.

In the original suit, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Murphy Pakiam is seeking to declare that the Catholic weekly Herald is entitled to use the word Allah.

He is also seeking to declare that its usage was not exclusive to Islam. Pakiam, 70, had named the then internal security minister and the government as respondents in the application filed March 19.

The archbishop is named as an applicant in the action in his capacity as publisher of the Herald.

Other parties which have applied to intervene in the suit are the Penang Islamic Religious Council, Terengganu Islamic Religious and Malay Custom Council, Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council and Perak Islamic Religious and Malay Custom Council.

Practised by the majority Malays, Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. But it is not an Islamic state as per the constitution, which permits religious minorities to practise their respective faiths.

Multi-ethnic Malaysia has significant populations of over two million Hindu settlers from India, Buddhists and Christians of various denominations, and smaller numbers of people practising other faiths.

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