An urgent, full-bench hearing comprising all 14 judges should hear the appeal at the Federal Court against the ruling that The Herald cannot use the word ‘Allah' in its Malay language edition.

Calling for this, DAP chairman Karpal Singh also said that there was a need to have both Muslims and non-Muslim judges hearing the case to give re-assurance to Christians.

“This would enable issue requires to be finally and authoritatively decided by the highest court in the land, said Kapral.

Karpal said the Court of Appeal's judgment on Monday caused "serious disquiet and tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country, in particular the Christians.”

In light of that, Karpal called for lawyers for The Herald should file a request to the Chief Justice of Malaysia, under Rule 61 of the Federal Court, for the appeal to be heard as soon as possible.

"There is no doubt the net has been cast too wide by the Court of Appeal in bringing in its swoop," the veteran lawyer said, adding that ‘Allah' is stated in the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, 37 times.

"This is clearly unconstitutional. The Sikhs must also be reassured that they are not affected by the ruling of the Court of Appeal," Karpal said in a statement issued yesterday.

Karpal further commented: “It has been rightly said a rose by any name will smell as sweet. Does it matter in what name the Almighty is referred to?”

On Monday, a three-member bench of the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned the 2009 decision by High Court judge Lau Bee Lan who ruled that the Home Ministry's ban on the use of the term ‘Allah' by the Catholic weekly The Herald was unlawful and unconstitutional as it violated Article 11 of the federal constitution.

In the summary judgement, Federal Court judge Mohamed Apandi Ali chaired the bench, which also has Justices Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Mohd Zawawi Salleh of the Court of Appeal, ruled that “the use of the name 'Allah' is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.”

"From such finding, we find no reason why the respondent (Archbishop Titular Catholic Church) is so adamant on using the name 'Allah' in the weekly publication. Such use, if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community," the judge added.

Critics of the ruling have argued that the term ‘Allah' has been used by Christians and Muslims to refer to God in their respective faiths in many parts of the world, especially the Middle East, and by Christians in East Malaysia long before the formation of the federation.