Nik Aziz: Non-Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’

KOTA BARU: Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has agreed that non-Muslims, including their leaders, be allowed to use the word “Allah” although it is regarded as the exclusive right of Muslims.

He opined that the move would provide space for non-Muslims to get to know the Islamic religion better.

Nik Aziz was speaking to reporters after handing out letters of appointment to councillors of local authorities here yesterday, Bernama reported.

His statement, however, ran contrary to the fatwa (edict) issued by the National Fatwa Council and the stand of PAS ulama and some of its leaders.

Asked on PAS’ stand on the issue, Nik Aziz said it would be decided by the party’s Ulama Syura Council which would meet in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

“I will, however, accept whatever decision made by the party on the matter at this upcoming meeting,” he added.

The controversial issue was recently raised again by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng when he urged the government to allow the use of the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, malaysiakini.com reported PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as saying that Islam does not prohibit people of other faiths from using the word “Allah” in their practice, although it does not approach the original meaning of the Quran.

Saying he regretted that the government is making this a polemic issue by using the media, which had resulted in a strain in the relationship among people of various faiths.

PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Pakatan Rakyat leaders have reached a consensus on the issue and wanted Abdul Hadi to explain it further.

Abdul Hadi said PAS’ stand is consistent in the issue as based on his media statement on Jan 4, 2010 which he had forwarded to the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) where the word “Allah” in the original meaning of Al-Quran cannot be translated exactly into any other languages.

For more stories, go to www.fz.com, the website for freedom of expression and fairness in articulation.

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