PETALING JAYA - A senior lecturer with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak described the Appeal Court's ruling on the usage of the word "Allah" as "very disturbing".
Dr Faisal Hazis said the support of right wing groups and some so-called Islamic groups for the ruling was also worrying.
"The court and these groups should not sow the seeds of fear and hatred among Muslims towards our Christian brothers and sisters as they exercise the freedom of religion.
"This in itself is not Islamic. There is no coercion in Islam," he said via a text message.
MCA central committee member Datuk Heng Seai Kie said she was surprised and disappointed with the judgement, adding that the jurisdiction of the law should be consistent, and should also protect the rights of minority groups.
According to Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming, the decision on "Allah" shows a "complete lack of understanding" of the practice of Sabah and Sarawak bumiputra Christians who have used the word in worship and liturgy for generations.
Ong said the reasons given by the three presiding judges in the grounds of judgement were "especially disappointing" and had far-reaching implications beyond the use of the word 'Allah' in The Herald.
"In fact, the grounds of judgement can easily be extended to ban 'Allah' in all Christian publications, including the Al-Kitab, whether it is in Malay, Iban, or any other language," he said in a statement yesterday.
Ong said that one of the judges, Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, had done a "great disservice" to Christians by liberally quoting sources from outside Malaysia to explain that Christians do not agree with the use of the word.