Christians in Malaysia, Indonesia and Arabic-speaking countries have used the name ‘Allah’ for centuries, but fundamentalist Muslims in Malaysia say ‘no more’.
The one and only Allah is Muslim — according to the fundamentalists — and Christians can no longer appropriate the name of the great Muslim God Allah, as if belongs to them.
A high court in Malaysia ruled that a Catholic newspaper the Herald the right to print the Arabic word for God, Allah, following a long-running dispute with the government over the issue.
Both Al Jazeera and the NYTimes agree that the fireburnings of four Christian churches in Malaysia are four contained events, although there’s widespread concern about violence spreading and impacting Malaysia’s robust tourist industry.
The existing ban had been aimed at a Catholic newspaper The Herald that serves a nationwide readership, but is focused mainly on the tribal communities in Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island, who had converted to Christianity more than a century ago.
The word Allah is not used my Christians practicing in larger cities.
The government said the use of the Arabic word might offend the sensitivities of Muslims who make up 60 per cent of Malaysia’s population. About 10 percent of Malaysians are Christians. Anne