Saturday, September 26

Court ruling utterly irresponsible, grossly demeaning — ACS chairman


Datuk Bolly Lapok

KUCHING: Calling the Court of Appeal’s ruling to ban the use of ‘Allah’ in the Catholic weekly publication “utterly irresponsible and grossly demeaning”, churches in Sarawak and Sabah will defy the decision and continue to call their God ‘Allah’.

The Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) yesterday expressed their disappointment over the banning of the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Catholic weekly publication ‘The Herald’ for reason that the word is not an integral part of the Christian faith.

ACS chairman Datuk Bolly Lapok, who is also Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South East Asia, said ACS was also concerned about the implication of the decision on the Malay and Iban-speaking Christians who had been using the term to refer to God for centuries.

Expressing his disappointment on the court ruling, Bolly lamented: “For an outsider to say that the use of the word Allah is ‘not integral to the Christian faith’ is excessive, utterly irresponsible and grossly demeaning, to say the least. The Church does not need an apologist from outside to decree what is integral or not regarding her faith.

“In fact, the ruling has far-reaching implications. It is not only insensitive to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, but it is an insidious aberration to the spirit of Muhibbah (harmony), which the government has been so desperately trying to promote among all Malaysians. It is repugnant to the universal common sense.”

Bolly, who is also Bishop for Anglicans in Sarawak and Brunei, stressed that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak “…will continue to worship their Allah until the Kingdom comes. What are they going to do about it?”

Bolly is also a member of the team to the inter-faith dialogue between the worldwide Anglican Communion and Al Azhar University in Cairo. Al Azhar is generally acclaimed to be the guardian of orthodoxy for the Islamic world.

Bolly’s measured statements reflect the interfaith courtesy and integrity that transcends local politics.