KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — The High Court here fixed March 15 for the mention of an application by a Melanau woman to challenge the Home Ministry’s decision in confiscating eight compact discs of Christian religious teachings containing the word “Allah”.
The date was fixed by deputy registrar Nik Mohd Fadli Nik Azlan, setting the stage for another court battle over the word “Allah”.
The country has been gripped by a raging debate over the word since the High Court ruled on December 31 that the Catholic weekly Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia edition had a constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in its Christian sense.
The ruling sparked protests from Muslim groups and has been linked to a series of firebombing and arson attacks against at least eight churches in the past few days.
In the latest case, the applicant has claimed that the compact discs which were confiscated was for her own personal use.The said publications were in audio visual form and had the words “Allah” printed on them. Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, 27, was granted leave on May 4 last year to initiate the judicial review proceedings against the ministry and the government, as respondents.
She wants an order of certiorari to quash the ministry’s decision to confiscate the CDs, an order of mandamus to direct the ministry to return the CDs to her and a declaration that she has the legitimate expectation to exercise her right to possess, use and import publications containing the word “Allah”.
On May 11 last year, the ministry seized the CDs under Section 9 (1) of the Printing Presses And Publications Act 1984 when Ireland, a clerk, disembarked at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang.
The CDs containing titles including “Cara Menggunakan Kunci Kerajaan Allah, Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah and Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” were brought in from Indonesia.
Ireland, a Sarawakian native of the Christian faith, claimed that she used the word “Allah” in her prayers, worship and religious education. She claimed that she received a letter dated July 7 last year from the ministry outlining the reasons for the confiscation, including that it was a threat to security, that it used prohibited words and that it was a breach of Jakim guidelines.