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A veteran Umno leader has called on a senior Catholic priest to convert to Islam if he insisted on using the word “Allah”, saying that this will cool the rage of Muslims and comply with the Sultan of Selangor’s decree, reported Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia.
Umno Veterans Club secretary Datuk Mustapha Yaakub said they are ready to hold the conversion ceremony anytime for Catholic weekly Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew (pic).
“We are ready to hold the ceremony for his conversion to Islam anytime after he gets hidayah (guidance) from Allah.
“We will ensure that he becomes an imam (Muslim leader) and a preacher that is successful and respected,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay daily.
Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad, Jais’s newly appointed director, in an interview last week had said that the state religious authorities would draw up a list of Selangor churches before writing to ask them to comply with the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988.
“We will write to all the churches in Selangor to respect the law that is in force in relation to this,” he was quoted as saying.
The enactment, which was passed by the then Barisan Nasional state government, prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases, including “Allah”, “nabi” (prophet), “injil” (gospel) and “Insha’Allah” (God willing).
However, lawyers had challenged the move saying that it was unconstitutional.
The latest to do so is the Catholic Lawyers’ Society.
Its president, Viola De Cruz Silva, said today that there were no provisions in the Federal Constitution banning non-Muslims from propagating their religion in their community or to other non-Muslim communities or groups.
“Therefore, any intended letter from Jais to the churches in Selangor would be invalid,” she said in a statement.
Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikkhism and Taoism president Jagir Singh said the 2009 decision by High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan ruled that non-Muslims could use words like “Allah”, provided it was confined to their own religious groups.
“It is only an offence by non-Muslims to use such words to propagate their religion to Muslims,” he told The Malaysian Insider.