Can Catholics pray to Allah?

While at first this question might sound more appropriate for a theological seminar than a legal blog, it actually does raise some constitutional implications. On New Year’s Eve, the Malaysian High Court struck down a government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah” to describe God. In 2007, the government had suspended the Catholic Church’s Herald after it used the word. I’d like to read the final opinion to better understand the constitutional reasoning (it’s not yet posted on the Malaysian Judiciary website), but, given the country’s history with blasphemy cases, including a threat to sue the Malaysian Bar for using the word “Allah” on its website, this is an interesting development indeed. I’d also be particularly interested in learning how or why the court felt empowered enough to challenge the ban, especially given the judiciary’s historic reluctance to expand constitution rights (see my earlier post discussing administrative law in Asia).

Anyway, Rule by Hukum wishes you all a Happy New Year. Thank you for joining us for our first few months on the web. Next year will surely have many new and exciting developments in the Southeast Asian legal world, and I’ll try to cover at least some of them.

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