We note the High Court ruling given on Dec 31 that the word 'Allah' is not exclusive to Islam and that the Catholic magazine 'The Herald' could continue to use the word.
We also note that the government has appealed to the appellate court on the matter. In view of the media reports today, the Malaysian Sikhs feel very concerned at the approach of some NGO's towards the use of the word 'Allah'.
Any decision made must reflect the interests of all the communities. Any kind of restriction imposed on the use of the word 'Allah' will definitely interfere in the reciting of the prayers by the Sikhs.
In view of the above, no one should now try to politicise the issue which can cause tension and disharmony among the races. Everyone should work towards maintaining the unity of the country.
In the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the word 'Allah' appears in the original text numerous times. The Holy Scriptures refer to the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent one God which has no form, is not born and does not die.
We note that the former mufti of Perlis, Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin, has stated that even before the arrival of Nabi Muhammad SAW, the name 'Allah' was used to refer to God and we quote:
'Manusia rnemang patut menyebut Tuhan dengan panggilan 'Allah' kerana itulah Tuhan sebenar. Sebelum kedatangan Nabi Muhammad SAW pun, nama 'Allah' digunakan untuk memanggil Tuhan'.
In view of the above, the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council appeals to the prime minister to consider the interests of all the religions and to call for a discussion on the matter to reach an amicable solution.
The Sikhs should also be invited as they have an interest in the matter. We further feel that before the matter is referred to the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, it should be thoroughly discussed first amongst all the communities.
[The writer is president, Malaysian Gurdwaras Council.]