Monday, January 13, 2014

Perak Mufti tells Jamil Khir to quit over failure to punish Catholic priest

Harussani demanded the arrest of Malays who had shown up outside a church in Klang to show solidarity with Christians ahead of a threatened protest last week, saying this depicted them as supporting the non-Muslim right to use 'Allah'. — Picture by Choo Choy MayControversial Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria has asked Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom to resign if the latter is unwilling to stand up to a Catholic priest in the ongoing “Allah” row.

Harussani accused the minister in charge of Islamic affairs of being “weak” in handling Father Lawrence Andrew’s reported insistence that  Catholic churches in Selangor would not abide by the state religious authorities plan to prevent them from using the Arabic word in their worship, in a report by Utusan Malaysia today.

“This is challenging the courts, even challenging the Yang diPertuan Agong. Why do we allow it? I saw on television last night, Jamil Khir saying, ‘Don’t cause a commotion, just wait for the court decision’.

“The courts have decided, what is there to wait for? If you are too weak to be a minister, I say just quit,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay daily.

Jamil was previously reported as telling all parties to be patient and await the Federal Court’s decision on the ongoing “Allah” case.

Harussani also demanded the arrest of Malays who had shown up outside a church in Klang to show solidarity with Christians ahead of a threatened protest last week, saying this depicted them as supporting the non-Muslim right to use “Allah”.

“Today we see when the ‘Allah’ issue surfaced, there were Malays who went to a church in Klang, singing and carrying flowers. So, the Malays are encouraging this and should be arrested,” he added.

Harussani previously insisted that “Allah” was exclusive to Muslims in Malaysia.

Andrew is currently under investigation for sedition over his reported remarks over the use of “Allah” in Catholic churches in Selangor.

The ongoing “Allah” row traces back to a 2009 High Court decision upholding the Catholic Church’s right to print the word in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly the Herald.

But the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal last October.

In upholding the ban on the word “Allah” in the Catholic Church weekly Herald, the Court of Appeal ruled that the word was not an integral part of the Christian faith.

The ongoing legal dispute between the government and the Catholic Church over its right to print the word “Allah” in the Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia section is still pending before the Federal Court, which is set to hear arguments from both sides on February 24 before deciding on whether it will hear an appeal by the Catholic Church.

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