Sarawakian Christian seeks to keep Islamic council out of court fight for ‘Allah’ CDs

Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s lawyer Annou Xavier (pic) said he will be submitting an affidavit early next week to strike out the Federal Territory Islamic Council's application to intervene in the dispute. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s lawyer Annou Xavier (pic) said he will be submitting an affidavit early next week to strike out the Federal Territory Islamic Council's application to intervene in the dispute. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — After years of battling to reclaim her “Allah” CDs, Sarawakian Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill is hoping to keep the Federal Territory Islamic Council (MAIWP) from intervening in her court battle on March 5.

Her lawyer, Annou Xavier said he will be submitting an affidavit early next week to strike out MAIWP’s application to intervene in the dispute.

“I can’t say more until the affidavit is filed early next week,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted for further information.

Annou said the position of Islam as the religion of the federation, the supremacy of the Constitution, the right to profess and practise one’s religion subject to limitations imposed, and rights to religious education, are the constitutional issues that would be raised.

Jill has been fighting to get back her “Allah” CDs that were seized by Immigration officials at the Sepang airport upon her return to Malaysia from Indonesia in 2008, citing her constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Earlier today, news portal The Malaysian Insider reported MAIWP wanted to be made a party to the Court of Appeal proceedings as it wanted to assist the court on constitutional and Islamic matters.

The word “Allah” is used by Bumiputera Christians, largely the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak but a several states in Malaysia have banned non-Muslims from using it under state laws.

The legal battle for “Allah” was spearheaded by the Catholic Church in 2009, after it was banned by the Home Ministry from publishing the Arabic word for God in the Malay section of its weekly paper, Herald.

The church lost its case at the Federal Court last year.

However, the federal government was quick to issue a statement after the high-profile case ended, saying the apex court decision was limited to the Herald and gave an assurance that Christians in Borneo Malaysia were still free to use the word in their prayers and worship as they have been doing for centuries.

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