Monday, February 24, 2014

Idris: 10-point fix not against state Islamic laws

11:00AM Feb 24, 2014
The 10-point solution outlined by the cabinet in 2011 does not contradict various state enactments outlawing use of the Bible for propagation, and the Court of Appeal’s decision on the ‘Allah’ ban, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Idris Jala.

While noting that the issue is highly sensitive, Idris (left), in his opinion piecepublished by Kinibiztoday, explained that the 10-point fix does not condone non-Muslims propagating non-Islamic faiths to Muslims.

“In other words, the Alkitab is allowed on a conditional basis that is for use by Christians, their churches and congregations and non-Muslims.

“However, if anyone uses the Alkitab or uses any of the prohibited words to propagate non-Islamic faiths to Muslims, then he will contravene the relevant Islamic laws,” said Idris, one of the architects behind the 10-point solution announced in April 2011.

Idris felt the 10-point solution can co-exist with Islamic state enactments, although he is aware there are people who view the co-existence is imperfect.

The 10-point solution allows the importation and printing of the Alkitab in Bahasa Malaysia or indigenous languages, to be used in churches in Sabah and Sarawak.

“In summary, the 10-point solution permits the Alkitab, conditionally in Peninsular Malaysia but unconditionally in Sabah and Sarawak. It does not condone the propagation of non-Muslim faiths to Muslims, whether or not they use any of these prohibited words.”

In explaining further, he said it is not an offence for non-Muslims to sing the Selangor anthem, which contains the word ‘Allah’ in the lyrics because merely singing or uttering them in the anthem does not constitute “propagation”.

In the case of Catholic weeklyThe Herald, the minister said it is based on the use of powers accorded to the home minister under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which is to prohibit use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the publication of the newsletter.

“In this case, the home minister has used his discretionary power in accordance with the law, upon being satisfied that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in The Herald’spublication could cause sensitivities, which in turn threatens public order and security.

“The Court of Appeal has ruled that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Alkitab is different from its use in The Herald newspaper as seen from the distribution angle of the publications,” Idris said.

Torching of churches

The Bible or Alkitab, Idris said, is allowed on condition that it be used in the church and for the Christian community, while The Herald is a newsletter that can be accessed by all.

Based on those facts, the usage may result in religious sensitivity and ultimately threaten public order and security.

He said the incidents of the torching of some churches in Peninsular Malaysia have been cited as evidence in the court hearing at the appellate court.

Idris said the court in allowing the appeal by the Home Ministry, ruled:

• The minister acted in accordance with his discretionary power in accordance with the law. The minister was also found not to be acting outside established principles for his decision to be set aside by the court.

• The executive is the best body to decide on matters of public order and security. In this case, the court found the High Court had erred when deciding that there is no evidence to show that there has been a threat to public order and security.

The appellate court further concluded that the law allows the minister to make decisions without waiting for threats or violence and is sufficient should there potentially be an occurrence of threat to public order and security. The court also took into account the violence that occurred after the High Court’s decision.

• That the prohibition of the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of The Herald, which is a translation of the English word – “God” in a newspaper, will not prevent the Christian community from practicing their religion and therefore does not violate the right to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

However despite the COA decision, Idris believes differences or conflicts on religious issues are best dealt with via dialogue and discussions rather than through the courts.
~ Malaysiakini

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