Thou Shalt Not Speak His Name: Malaysian Court Reinstates Law Banning Use Of Allah By Non-Muslims

150px-Dcp7323-Edirne-Eski_Camii_AllahA Malaysian appeals court on Monday showed once again how a religious based legal system is fundamentally at odds with not just freedom of speech but freedom of religion. The court upheld an abusive government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah.” Other faiths are now barred from using the term after the court upheld a law previously struck down by a lower court.

The Malay language uses the word “Allah” to refer to God, but the Islamic government wants the word for Muslims alone out of concern that other religions might try to confuse Muslims or encourage them to convert. The insecurity over Muslims leaving the faith is something that we have discussed before in the continued imposition of a death sentence for apostasy.

The government has a wonderfully circular answer to those who say that the law is just another restriction on religion in the name of religion. The government simply says that, since the word belongs to Muslims, it is not a restriction on non-Muslims. However, a Catholic publication wanted to use the term as part of the Malay language.

The decision is also a blow for lawyers in the country who celebrated the decision of a lower court four years ago striking down the law. It was a win for those who want a more secular legal system for the country and reaffirmed that independence of judges. Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali on the Court of Appeals soon put an end to that dream.

Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali simply discarded concerns over free speech or freedom of religion and dismissed any real need to use the word — ignoring that whether someone “needs” to use a word is left to the person to decide in free nations. He declared that “It is our judgment that there is no infringement of any constitutional rights” in the ban. We could find no reason why the (Catholic newspaper) is so adamant to use the word ‘Allah’ in their weekly. Such usage if allowed will inevitably cause confusion within the community.” It is a telling statement. The reason that he apparently sought so hard to find is in the right to use standard words. The court shifted the traditionally analysis from the right to the “need” for a word.

It is a great loss to the integrity and evolution of the Malaysian legal system in overturning the prior decision. The distortive impact of religious orthodoxy on the legal system is felt across the system.

21 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Not Speak His Name: Malaysian Court Reinstates Law Banning Use Of Allah By Non-Muslims

  1. Any system of “laws” that relies on religion (no matter what that religion may be) to be the ultimate arbiter of right or wrong or the presence or absence of rights is corrupt.

  2. Whenever our elected religious nuts attempt to rewrite American history in order to usurp the future, imagine if we really were a Christian nation (we’re not: we’re just a nation full of Christians): The imposition of religious “values” leads only to censorship and tyranny, which, fortunately, our godless (i.e., neutral) Constitution prevents.

    Theocracy and totalitarianism go hand in hand.

  3. One would think that non-Muslims using “Allah” for “God”, would be a positive thing for Muslims. Acceptance that “Allah” and “God” are synonymous in a way legitimizes “Allah” as “God”. However, religious fanaticism knows no bounds once it is empowered. I wonder if the reason behind this is to find more ways to criminalize non-Muslims?

  4. Reading another story about religious fanaticism (It’s virtually an everyday thing.) is just wearying. I read a story like this one and feel something vital seeping away… I can’t even think of a snarky, derisive comment.

  5. And the godless heathens from the TSA will arrest you, likely rape you, certainly torture you, and destroy your life in every way possible if you make jokes in the airport. Courtesy the godless fascist Gestapo freaks in government who love you and destroy you for their god, the state.

    Nitwits think religion is the problem when in fact the problem is humans are all corrupt. Start to finish. The goal is to mitigate it among the religious and the non religious alike.

  6. AY: You beat me to it…

    Allah, Allah, oxenfree. Come and git me, suckahs

    (If anyone should ask, tell ’em my name is Nick Spinelli)

  7. Tootie: Yeah, that’s exactly what the TSA is gonna do…they’re going to rape you.

    Somebody cue the authentic frontier gibberrish

  8. RTC, if you consent under duress to having someone touch your junk, is it rape? Or disrobe enough to see your underwear, a brassier, a breast prosthetic, an adult diaper, or touch your breasts is it a sexual battery. Or stand in a machine that removes your cloths like those x-ray glasses advertised in comic books promised to do -but for real? Is that a sexual assault? Under duress and color of law.

    I’m on 2T’s side. OMG.

  9. “Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent” Wikipedia

    Hmmmm, because it’s a government policy and widespread and for our own good I guess it’s not really rape, just rapiness, kind’a. Sort of like truthiness but different.

  10. I’m getting visions of the stoning scene from Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian”, and of the game, “taboo”. You can bet some jerk will try to get someone not a muslim to say it and then claim “offense”.

    The only thing offensive is religion. If the mythicall “allah” can create the world, it can deal with “blasphemy” itself. The fact that it doesn’t do anything means “allah” doesn’t care, so its followers shouldn’t either.

  11. LottaK,

    “…if you consent under duress to having someone touch your junk, is it rape?”
    “‘Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse….”
    Ok, I’ll just come right out and admit that I interpreted the term “rape” in 2t’s gaseous comment as the common usage of the word, meaning sexual intercourse without consent. Maybe it was insensitive but her hyperbole conjured up a natural association in my mind between rape and torture when she alleged that the TSA tortures people for making jokes in the airport.

    I’m no lawyer, but I would think that it would be difficult to make out a charge of rape for groping or fondling someone. Sexual assault, yes. That’s not to say that the indignity of these searches are negligible or benign by any means. I would definitely not want my sister, mother, or aunt to undergo one and I try not to think of it when they travel the same as I try not to think of them going to the gynecologist…. Doh!

    Moreover, I don’t view a TSA search, even at it’s most intrusive, as a sexual act more than when my Dr. checks the ol’ prostate. Those are non-sexual, albeit humiliating, acts of touching. Rape is a sexual act, usually an expression of dominance. Degrading and offensive, but not sexual.

    At any rate, there are two things everyone should know by now about air travel these days: be prepared to be searched and don’t joke about having any bombs or weapons. We can thank the first 4-5 guys who thought they were funny for that. My point is that when you buy your ticket, your consent to be searched before boarding is implied. Essentially, it’s like Peter Graves said in “Airplane!”, “They knew the risks they were taking” [when they booked the flight]. If you don’t want to be searched, rent a car. Obey the rules of the road, don’t throw your cigarette butts out the window.

    Do I like being scanned or searched when I fly? Absolutely not. Is going through a TSA search degrading and invasive? You bet. Do I think a lot of it serves as a means for conditioning the public to accept the intrusiveness of a police state? Most definitely. Am I answering my own questions like Donald Rumsfeld? I sure am. But knowing what the deal is when I travel, I can either accept and lower the stress around me, or I can show resentment and irritation and invite more hasslement for myself. One thing is for sure, I’m not going to change anything while standing in line at the airport. Regrettably, it’s looking more and more like I’m not going to be able to change anything standing in the voting booth either.

    But no, consenting to have my junk touched during a search by a TSA agent is not rape. A lot of other things, but not rape.

  12. It’s a law that is not based on reason. I am Muslim. Christians throughout the MENA use the name Allah (usually with a form of ‘father’ attached to distinguish themselves from Muslims). Its the name of God no matter what ones religion happens to be!

  13. So, non-Muslims cannot talk about that law, since it includes that word. Or maybe they must say “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”?

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