PUTRAJAYA: Catholic weekly The Herald will appeal the decision by the Court of Appeal to disallow the former to use the term "Allah" in its Malay edition in referring to the Christian 'God'.
The Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said, the appeal will be filed in the nearest possible time but they were not doing it to prove a point between right and wrong.
He also said he was disappointed with the court's decision.
"We cannot reconcile how on one hand, the Christian community is allowed to freely use, import and distribute the word extensively by virtue of the government's 10-point solution for worship.
"On the other hand, we are prohibited or restricted from using the same word for publication on grounds that this word is exclusively for Islam," he said when met at the court after it handed down its decision on the appeal filed by the Home Ministry and others.
The Court of Appeal today allowed the appeal and in turn ruled that The Herald was not allowed to use the term "Allah" in its Malay edition.
Andrew also said, for the past 18 years, The Herald publication has not caused any inconvenience.
"The verdict is unrealistic given the reality of the use of the word of Allah by the Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregation, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, for generations.
"We are not discouraged. We trust in god that justice will be served," he said.
The decision was made by a three-man panel comprising Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali, Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim following the Home Ministry's and government's appeal against the High Court's earlier decision that use of "Allah" was not exclusive to Muslims.
In his judgment, Mohamed Apandi said the court was satisfied that sufficient material were considered by former Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein who was the plaintiff in this case, in discharging his function and statutory power under the Printing Presses And Publications Act 1984.
"Although the test under the written law is subjective, there are sufficient evidence to show that such subjective decision was derived by considering all facts and circumstances in an objective manner.
"Thus, there is no plausible reason for the High Court to interfere with the Minister's decision," he said, when setting aside all orders made by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in conjunction with its allowance of the Church's judicial in 2009.
Appandi also said, the court found that the usage of the term "Allah" was not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.
"We find no reason why the respondent is so adamant to use 'Allah' in their weekly publication. Such usage, if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community," he said.
The dispute on the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims started when the Home Ministry prohibited the publication to use the term as a condition for permit renewal issuance in 2007.
In February 2008, the Church filed for a judicial review of the ministry’s decision and, on Dec 31, 2009, the High Court declared the decision by the ministry was illegal, null and void.
The court also ruled the term "Allah" was not exclusive to Muslims and use by the Christians was protected under the Federal Constitution, as long as it was not used to preach to Muslims.
The Home Ministry and Government then appealed against the decision.--Astro Awani