KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — The Catholic Church is asking the Federal Court to reconsider its refusal to entertain the appeal against the Home Ministry ban on the use of “Allah” in its Herald newsletter, arguing that the apex court failed to consider key legal issues in its decision.
The application for review was submitted by the Catholic Church’s lawyer, Benjamin Dawson, this afternoon, national news agency Bernama reported.
According to Dawson, the Catholic Church is seeking a review of the decision that effectively bars “Allah” to non-Muslims, over three issues.
It contends that the Federal Court did not consider key constitutional questions raised in the appeal application and that the Home Ministry ban was predicated on theological reasons rather than administrative.
“The third ground is that the Herald's case is one of the most important constitutional cases to have come before our court, particularly where minority rights are concerned,” Dawson was quoted as saying in the Bernama report.
The lawyer also insisted that it was of public interest that the Federal Court hear the Catholic Church’s appeal.
On June 23, the Federal Court rejected the Catholic Church’s application to appeal against the Home Ministry’s ban on the word “Allah” in the Herald, in a 4-3 decision by the seven-member bench.
The decision effectively made the preceding Court of Appeal ruling from the previous year the binding decision in the matter and ended a protracted Muslim-Christian tussle over the Arabic word for God.
The Court of Appeal ruled last year that “Allah” was not integral to the Christian faith and that the home minister was justified in banning the Herald from describing God with the Arabic word on grounds of national security and public order.
In July, Chief Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria reduced the controversial appellate court finding to an opinion rather than a binding precedent, saying in his written judgment that the contentious government ban over non-Muslim use of the word was not based on religious grounds.
Despite this, however, the Court of Appeal’s opinion has already influenced one case involving Christians and “Allah”, when a High Court struck out the Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo’s (SIB) 2007 lawsuit against the Home Ministry for confiscating three boxes of Malay-language Christian publications containing the word “Allah”.
Another, involving a Sarawak Christian’s challenge against the Home Ministry seizure of compact discs bearing the Arabic word, is still pending.
The “Allah” issue began in the High Court in 2009 and culminated in attacks on houses of worship across the country after the Catholic Church won a brief victory on December 31 the same year.- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/catholic-church-renews-allah-fight-seeks-review-of-apex-court-decision#sthash.NL5A0FHH.dpuf