Home Menara English Local Penang exco denies meddling with fatwa panel, says only offered feedback

Penang exco denies meddling with fatwa panel, says only offered feedback

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GEORGE TOWN, Feb 8 — Penang religious affairs committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim has rejected claims that he tried to influence the state fatwa committee’s position on the non-Muslim use of the word “Allah”, among others, in 2010.

Abdul Malik said he had only asked the Penang mufti then, who also chaired the committee, to discuss the decision in the presence of a state government representative.

“I only hoped the fatwa committee would listen and review their decisions by taking into account views from a state government representative that is different from the committee,” he said in a statement today.

He said it is customary for the fatwa committee to invite parties with different views for a dialogue session on the fatwa.

He was responding to a statement by Penang Fatwa Committee member Datuk Md Salleh Ahmad, who alleged political interference in the committee’s decisions, especially on the “Allah” issue.

The committee had passed a fatwa banning non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” along with 39 other words back in 2010 and this was gazetted under Section 48(3) and (4) of the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004.

Today, Abdul Malik reiterated that the fatwa was gazetted in 2010 without impediment and that the state government respected and accepted the decision

“Asking for the fatwa to be discussed again is not interfering in the fatwa process,” he stressed.

Earlier today, Md Salleh accused Abdul Malik of instructing the Penang Fatwa Committee to review its decision in gazetting the 40 banned words for non-Muslims, to be in line with the state government’s stand on the “Allah” issue.

The non-Muslim use of “Allah”, Arabic for God, had been the subject of a civil suit filed by the Catholic Church against the Home Ministry. The judiciary later sided with the government’s decision to restrict the term to Muslims.

The fatwa on the 40 words that non-Muslims are not allowed to use were passed and gazetted under Section 48(3) and (4) of the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004.

The 40 words, gazetted in 2010, are “Solat”, “Surau”, “Masjid”, “Allah”, “Firman Allah”, “Ulama”, “Hadith”, “Ibadah”, “Kaabah”, “Qadhi’”, “Illahi”, “Wahyu”, “Mubaligh”, “Syariah”, “Qiblat”, “Haji”, “Mufti”, “Rasul”, “Iman”, “Dakwah”, “Wali”, “Fatwa”, “Imam”, “Nabi”, “Sheikh”, “Khutbah”, “Tabligh”, “Akhirat”, “Azan”, “Al Quran”, “As Sunnah”, “Auliya’”, “Karamah”, “Syahadah”, “Baitullah”, “Musolla”, “Zakat Fitrah”, “Hajjah”, “Taqwa” and “Soleh”.

The Malay Mail Online

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