(Pic by Lorna / Dreamstime) PETALING JAYA, 6 Jan 2010: An American-based Islamic society has commended the 31 Dec 2009 High Court judgement that lifted the ban on the use of “Allah” by Catholic paper Herald.
The Islamic Society of North America (Isna) said the Qur’an was explicit that Muslims worshipped the same God as Christians.
“The Qur’an commands Muslims to declare that the God they worship and the one worshipped by the followers of revealed books, including Christians, is one,” Isna said in a 4 Jan statement.
It cited the Qur’an (29:46): “… and say [to the followers of the Abrahamic faiths]: ‘We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.'”
“We urge Muslim non-governmental organisations to respect Islamic teachings and long-held Islamic traditions, and to withdraw their opposition to the use of the word ‘Allah‘ by their Christian compatriots,” Isna said.
Isna disagreed with the argument that non-Muslim Malaysians usually translate God as “Tuhan” in Bahasa Malaysia, not “Allah”. “This argument is contrary to both Islamic understanding and practice,” said Isna.
“Christian Arabs have been using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in their religious sources since the inception of Islam, and have never been challenged by private Muslims or Muslim governments on this ground,” it added.
It said Islamic law was clear that Christians have the right to practise their religion according to their own religious teachings.
Isna is an association of Muslim organisations and individuals that has been operating in the US and Canada for more than 40 years.
In the meantime, protests are reportedly being organised after Friday prayers on 8 Jan by Malaysian Muslim organisations to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the High Court ruling.
Malay-language newspapers have also been criticising the High Court ruling while Malaysian cabinet members, notably Muslim ministers from Umno, have been appealing for “calm”, saying the matter was “sensitive“.