Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Court Judgments. Part 2/2

Part 2/2: Implications for Freedom of Religion arising from the Catholic Herald Court Judgments

The Federal Constitution provision for freedom of religion has been undermined when the higher courts ruled that the ‘sanctity of Islam’ defines and limits freedom to practice other religions. Surely this unconstitutional restriction also applies to all other fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution since fundamental liberties are an inseparable whole, like a ‘seamless cloth’.

Preview of Conclusion
As a result of the decision by the Court of Appeal in the Catholic Herald, the law as it currently stands appears to be that the term ‘Allah’ should not be used by any non-Muslim group in Malaysia as it is not an essential and integral part of the religion. Article 11 only protects what is mandatory in a religion which according to the CA’s interpretation is a severely restricted freedom. Article 11 has to be read with article 3 which was inserted to protect the sanctity and supremacy of Islam. This means that other religions can be practiced in peace and harmony throughout the Federation as long as it does not affect the sanctity of Islam.

Read the attached document “Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Judgments” for a careful and insightful analysis of these disturbing developments:

pdf Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Continue reading “Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Court Judgments. Part 2/2”

Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Court Judgments. Part 1/2


Part 1/2: Backdoor Islamization of Malaysian Laws – State Islamic Enactments Silently Rewrite the Federal Constitution via Illegitimate Use of the Penal Code.

Related Post: Part 2/2: Implications for Freedom of Religion arising from the Catholic Herald Court Judgments

The recent judgments by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court failed to clarify and delimit the bounds of authority of the State Islamic Authorities in relation to non-Muslims. The result is an ongoing process of silent rewriting of the Federal Constitution that violates the fundamental liberties of all citizens enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The failure of the higher Courts to address and arrest the backdoor Islamization of the legal system can only result in ascendency and final supremacy of Syariah law for the country.

Read the attached document “Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Judgments” for a careful and insightful analysis of these disturbing developments:

pdfFreedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald


Highlights from Document Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Court Judgments Continue reading “Freedom of Religion after the Catholic Herald Court Judgments. Part 1/2”

Selangor Enactment (2003) Says Syariah Court Has No Jurisdiction Over Non-Muslims. MAIS Please Read!

The Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 plainly says Syariah Court has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims! MAIS/JAIS should read section 74 of the Enactment. Surely, “the right and property of a non-Muslim” includes the Bibles illegally seized by JAIS. The decent thing for MAIS/JAIS to do is to return the Bibles with an apology!


Enactment No. 1 of 2003

An Enactment to make new provisions on the administration of the religion of Islam, the establishment and jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts, the establishment and functions of the Majlis Agama Islam Selangor, and other matters related thereto.

[1 September 2003]
[Sel. P.U. 25/2003]


74. Jurisdiction does not extend to non-Muslims
(1) No decision of the Syariah Appeal Court, Syariah High Court or Syariah Subordinate Court shall involve the right or the property of a non-Muslim.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a Muslim shall at all times be acknowledged and treated as a Muslim unless a declaration has been made by a Syariah Court that he is no longer a Muslim.

Malaya/Malaysia is a Secular State: Minister Jamil Baharom is Wrong

The Malaysian Insider easily refuted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datul Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who asserted simplistically (and I would venture to say, insincerely) that Malaysia is not a secular state. Re: Look Up the History Books, Malaysia is a Secular State :

“A Malaysian minister is insisting that Malaysia is not a secular state, and that is anchored in Islamist roots because there are the Malay rulers and state Islamic laws exist for Muslims. That argument might have worked if it was just Malaya…But you know what, Mr Minister, we are now in Malaysia…The reality is, of course, different. Malaysia is a secular state where the rule of law is supreme. The Federal Constitution is the basic law, not the Quran.”

I would go further and assert that the Minister’s argument won’t work even if we restrict the case just to Malaya. We only need to go back to read the Foundational Documents of the 1957 Federal Constitution at the formation of Malaya. For example, the Reid Commission states unequivocally that Malaya is a secular state: Continue reading “Malaya/Malaysia is a Secular State: Minister Jamil Baharom is Wrong”

No Need to Comply When JAIS Abused its Limited Power to Harass non-Muslim Institutions

Much of the public discussion over the recent JAIS raid on Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) has focused on who should be held responsible for an illegal raid. I shall briefly note that UMNO went on a road show to support JAIS after the seizure of the Bibles.  We cannot overlook the insincerity and failure of the Federal government to honor the 10 points. Selangor MB deserves criticism for not reprimanding JAIS and instructing it to redress its illegal raid (granted he faced political constraints and impossible circumstances after the Sultan’s decree). The issue has become a political football passed between AG, the Home Ministry and the Selangor government. Let blame be rightly apportioned to all these wrongful parties. Continue reading “No Need to Comply When JAIS Abused its Limited Power to Harass non-Muslim Institutions”

Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments

The Allah dispute is the focus of 3 court hearings this week. Taking the risk of committing the sin of boring repetition – here are 3 short arguments why Allah is not exclusive to Islam.

First, ﷲ Allâh (al-ilah) is historically derived from a common noun (ilah), which is not a proper noun/personal name (Nama Khas). It is just a common reference to a divine being in general or to the Most High God in monotheist culture, along with other related references in the Semitic languages – Hebrew el, eloah, Syriac alaha etc.  Sibawayh (the father of Arabic grammar), noted the etymology of the word was disputed but suggested a Syriac connection as al-Ilaah, Allah results when one attaches ‘al’ with aliha and alaha. More importantly, the word ﷲ Allâh was used by Christians and other Semites long before the emergence of Islam. Continue reading “Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments”

PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)

Customers are painfully aware that redemption coupons often are not what they seem to be.  Remember the old customer advisory, “What the bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away.” One can only feel let down after reading the fine print in the “Terms and Conditions Apply” section stipulating the coupon is valid only at certain branches. Worse still, the customer service may refer to a hitherto unannounced in-house policy which says the coupon is valid only for ‘privileged members’.

To be fair, PM Najib finally comes clean with the fine print “terms and conditions” of his 10-point redemption coupon. Indeed, he highlighted it in bold print. As reported,

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated today that state enactments on the use of terms deemed exclusive to Muslims override the Cabinet’s more generous 10-point agreement on the matter. “The 10 points are subject to state constitution and enactments. Where there are state enactments, they will supersede the 10-point agreement,” he told reporters. “We have made our stance clear.” [Themalaymailonline 27/01/2014]

Still, PM Najib was quick to assure the East Malaysians that he has “special terms and conditions” for them. The STAR (24 Jan 2013) in “Najib: 10-point Resolution on Allah Issue Subject to Federal, State Laws” reported,

Najib… took note of the Cabinet’s 10-point resolution on this matter in 2011, which among others, allows the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak to continue using the word Allah in the Malay version of the Bible. However, he said the points therein were subject to Federal and state laws.

“This means that if the state has an enactment (on use of the word Allah), it is subject to this. If the state does not have such an enactment, like Sabah and Sarawak, so the usual practice will be continued and no party should scare others,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato Onn on Friday.

However, East Malaysians, especially Sabahans, should be guarded in accepting the PM’s assurance or redemption coupon. They may be in for a rude shock as the customer service of the PM’s ‘Departmental Store’ has a track record applying ambiguous in-house policy to reject redemption coupons. For example, some goods (supposedly Islamic terms) can only be sold to privileged members; a fortiori, customers cannot use redemption coupons to get them.

Put concretely, Sabah Christians should be aware that the state has gazetted on 1 June 2003  a fatwa prohibiting non-Muslims from using 32 so-called Islamic terms under the Enakmen Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam 1992.

Under normal circumstances, fatwas should have no bearing on non-Muslims. That is to say, a fatwa must be gazetted to have legal effect (on Muslims).  But a fatwa, even one that is gazetted, has no application to non-Muslims since it is still being gazetted under the state Shariah enactment, which does not apply to non-Muslims. Continue reading “PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)”

Good Govt Will/Must Protect Religious Freedom From Doubtful Court Judgment

It is arguable that the COA judges in the recent Allah court case violated a well-known dictum in jurisprudence that judgments should be minimalist. That is to say, judges should interpret the law narrowly, if a broad interpretation would likely incur social injustice or encroach on religious freedom. It makes matters worse when authorities apply these doubtful judgments to discriminate against the minority Christian community.

It is vital for citizens to be informed correctly about fundamental liberties in the Federal Constitution so that they are able to reject any wrongful interpretation and application of the law arising from the COA judgement. For this purpose, I am pleased to recommend that you read two helpful articles written by Mr. Andrew Khoo in Malaysiakini.

CFM’s Clear and United Stand & a Challenge to the Government to Come Clean on the Allah Issue  LINK . Go Directly to Malaysiakini

Bible Raid: Federal Govt Cannot Act Like Pontius Pilate Wash its Hands LINK. Go Directly to Malaysiakini



The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?

The raid of Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) by the Selangor Islamic authorities, JAIS (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor) is a flagrant violation of religious liberty and a deliberate affront to the dignity of the Christian community. LINK JAIS’ action suggests that a threshold in inter-religious relations has been crossed, that is, the Islamic authorities have progressed from harassing to persecuting Christian minorities in Malaysia.

The raid is not unexpected, given the orchestrated agitations and provocations coming from Islamic authorities and NGOs in the last few weeks. The decree by the Sultan of Selangor which bans non-Muslims from using the Allah word was followed by a statement by JAIS new Director declaring that JAIS will be sending warning letters to all churches. Islamic NGOs followed suit with police reports against Herald and the Catholic Church. Next, the former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir accused Christians of irritating Muslims in using the Allah word, and the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin publicly supported UMNO Selangor in its campaign against the editor of Herald. Strangely, the Prime Minister has remained silent although he has personally guaranteed Christians their right to use the al-Kitab a few years ago. The ominous beating of war drums can only lead to hostile action against Christians. Continue reading “The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?”

Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah

Following the Court of Appeal judgment, the Prime Minister assures Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the judgment only bans the Catholic Herald from using the Allah word. A few cabinet ministers suggest the 10-Point agreement continues to allow these Christians to use the Christian al Kitab notwithstanding the Allah word.

The PM’s assurance sounds feeble, wishful and arguably misleading when the Appeal Court judgment prohibits the Christian community from using the Allah word on grounds that the word is not integral to Christian faith, that any religious practice must be circumscribed or limited by Islamic sensitivity, and finally, that the prohibition is necessary for national security.

Be assured that officers from JAKIM and the Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran (The Publication and Quranic Texts Control Division) will be waving at Christians the Appeal Court written judgment when they decide in due time (chosen at their convenience) to raid a Christian institution and seize its publications or stop any activity deemed offensive to Islamic sensitivity. Continue reading “Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah”