Malaysia's first resident nuncio has backed the local Church's arguments for using 'Allah' for God in Malay language texts, the Malaysian Insider reports.
Archbishop Joseph Marino applauded the arguments made by the Christian Federation of Malaysia as very 'quite logical and acceptable' but said the ongoing court case was an internal matter for Malaysia.
Earlier, the Malaysian Catholic Church had filed an application arguing that the Malaysian Federal government’s appeal against a High Court decision allowing a church newspaper to use the word 'Allah' should be struck out because it is irrational and illogical.
The controversy began when the then Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar signed an order prohibiting the Herald from using the word 'Allah' in its publication. This led to a suit by Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam in March 2009 in which he named the home ministry and the government as respondents.
Among other things, the church sought a declaration that Syed Hamid’s decision was illegal and that the word 'Allah' was not exclusive to Islam.
This is the first time the Vatican has opened what is the equivalent to an embassy in Malaysia. The Apostolic Nuncio said he liked being in Malaysia and was very warmly received by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong when he met the ruler to present his credentials.
On his experience as Apostolic Nuncio in Bangladesh before coming to Malaysia, the Apostolic Nuncio said that the first thing he learnt there was the beauty of Islam.
'It is indeed a religion of peace and harmony and its spiritual components of seeking God is profound. That was the joy that I had in my deep contact with Islam in a country that is predominantly Muslim. They also have great respect for Christians and other religions, and there is a real desire to have this true sense of conviviality,' he said.
The diplomat said the only way to stop deterioration in race relations in Malaysia is through dialogue, saying it would work out if people sat down and talked.
'Allah' appeal illogical, irrational, says Catholic Church (Malaysian Insider)