The Malaysian Government conceded 23 July that Jill Ireland can have her audio compact discs containing the word “Allah.” Authorities had seized the religious material seven years ago at a Kuala Lumpur airport when Ireland flew in from Indonesia, where she had acquired the CDs.
The Appeal Court on 23 June had ordered the Government to return the CDs within a month. Authorities were given a month to file leave for appeal today in the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest legal body. But a senior counsel for the government, Shamsul Bolhassan, confirmed 23 July that it would not dispute the appelate court’s verdict.
Ireland, a Christian from Sarawak state, also has asked the courts to rule that the Federal Constitution guarantees her right to use the word “Allah” in reference to God. Shamsul said that case now would be heard before another High Court judge. Ireland’s petition comes amid highly controversial decisions by the Government and Islamic organisations, which insist “Allah” is reserved to Malay-Muslims, the dominant religious and racial group in the multiracial nation, once celebrated for its inter-ethnic harmony.