Posted: 14 Oct 2013 12:47 PM PDT
How then does the judge proceed in his inquiry? Essentially, he offers a series of cut and paste, piecemeal quotations which he deems to have a decisive bearing on his judgment.
Ng Kam Weng, TMI
The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on yesterday over-ruled the earlier decision by Justice Lau Bee Lan in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to allow Christians (Herald) to use the word Allah.
The wide ramifications of the Appeal Court decision calls for careful analysis to ascertain whether it is based on accurate facts which are foundational for a coherently argued and impartial judgment.
I shall focus on the judgment delivered by one of the three judges, Justice Mohd Nawawi bin Salleh, since it ostensibly examines the facts pertaining to the legitimacy of Christians (the Herald) using the word Allah.
Justice Mohd Nawawi notes that Justice Lau Bee Lan in her High Court judgment concluded that "it is apparent that the use of the word Allah is an essential part of the worship and instruction in the faith of the Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) speaking community of the Catholic Church in Malaysia and integral to the practice and propagation of their faith." 
He then refers to some earlier court judgments which ruled that the wearing of the purdah and the serban was not integral to the practice of Islam. More importantly, he cites the principle that was used by a court in India to decide whether a dance involving public display of skulls and knives was integral to the practice of the sect in question. "Test to determine whether a part of practice is essential to the religion is to find out whether the nature of religion will be changed without that part or practice. If the taking away of that part or practice could result in a fundamental change in the character of that religion or in its belief, then such part could be treated as an essential or integral part." 
This should have been a straight forward test. Dressing and dance change as fashions come and go. They would not be considered as constituting the essence or core of a religion. In contrast, the concept of God is THE defining centre for any religion. This being the case, Justice Lau's judgment which affirms the word Allah is an integral part of Christian faith and practice would have been self-evident.
Justice Mohd Zawawi seems to think otherwise and proceeds to lay out the grounds for his decision to set aside the judgment of Justice Lau. The judge reiterates the claim made by the Muslim appellants that the word Allah is not found in the original Hebrew and Greek Bible, and as such, it cannot be integral to the practice of the Christian faith. However, the Muslim appellants' assertion is disputed by the respondent for the Herald who emphasizes that the word Allah has been used for years by the majority of the Catholics to translate the Hebrew word elohim.
We should not miss the judge's acknowledgment that "This debate does not exist for Arabic-speaking Christians who had continually translated "Elohim" and "Theos" (the primary terms for "God" in Biblical Hebrew and Greek), as Allah from the earliest known Arab Bible translations in the eight century till today." 
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