Allah issue hangs in the balance as Christians begin observing their most holy season

4 March 2014, The Malaysian Insider The Federal Court will hear whether the Church’s application for leave to appeal ought to be given, five months after the Court of Appeal had ruled that the home minister was right in prohibiting the use of the word in The Herald. If leave is not granted, the decision of the Court of Appeal on October 14 will stand as correct in fact and in law. There can be no appeals by the church after this. Mr. Benjamin Dawson, one of the counsels in the Church’s legal team, said Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 had to be satisfied in order for the Federal Court to hear the appeal. “We have framed questions to satisfy the requirements of both parts of Section 96,” said Mr. Dawson, who had worked tirelessly with others in the team in conducting extensive research on the subject matter.

Mr. Dawson, the lawyer who had appeared in the conversion case of Lina Joy about 10 years ago, said going by the intensity of public debates since last year, the Federal Court should grant leave to the Church to hear the appeal.  “The questions posed basically boiled down to whether the fundamental liberties like freedom of speech, religion and religious education of non-Muslims were subject to the position of Islam as the religion of the federation,” said Mr. Dawson, “our questions will also touch on whether a minister or any written law could regulate the religious affairs of non-Muslims”.


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