No protest at churches: Selangor Umno

SHAH ALAM - Selangor Umno has promised not to hold any rallies in front of churches today. What's more, it has urged the police to act against any group that does so.

Its liaison chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar said the state Umno would not take part in any protest in front of churches over the issue of non-Muslims using the word "Allah".

He told a press conference here yesterday: "We do not support anyone who takes part in any protest in front of any place of worship as we are only dissatisfied with (Catholic priest) Father Lawrence Andrew.

"It is very unfair to slam everybody just because of one person."

Father Lawrence, the editor of the Catholic weekly, The Herald, was reported as saying that Catholic churches in Selangor would continue using the word "Allah" in their weekend mass.

Subsequently, about 350 copies of Bibles and Christian publications were taken by Jais (Selangor Islamic Religious Department) and the police from the office of the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim last Thursday.

The raid was conducted under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 that prohibits the use of the the word "Allah" and other Quranic terms by non-Muslims.

It was earlier reported that Selangor Umno would protest in front of churches to express dissatisfaction over the issue.

While expressing support for the Jais move, Noh urged the public to be calm, saying police were conducting investigations.

"There is the Enactment in Selangor that clearly prohibits non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words, including "Allah". And there is our Sultan, who is the head of the religion. Then, there are the police. We must respect all of these," he said.

Noh blamed Father Lawrence for "the problem" and reiterated the stand of Selangor Umno for him to retract his statement and issue a public apology.

"He (Father Lawrence) is challenging the state Enactment and has committed treason by going against what the Sultan had said on this issue.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had decreed on Dec 14 that all citizens in Selangor must abide by the prohibition on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims as provided for under the Enactment.

Noh also urged leaders not to make statements without citing the Enactment, adding that different states had different sets of law.

Klang MP Charles Santiago, meanwhile, said that the South Klang police chief Asst Comm Kamarul Zamat Mamat has given an assurance that there would be no trouble during Sunday mass as the men in blue would be on standby at Our Lady of Lourdes church.