Monday, October 14, 2013
A Catholic newspaper in Malaysia is no longer allowed to use the word "Allah" when referring to God, a court has ruled in a unanimous decision that overturns a 2009 ruling, with the court finding that the publisher's constitutional rights were not infringed
The government had argued that the word is specific to Muslims, and the appeals court agreed that public disorder could result if the word is not exclusive to Islam. "The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity," said the chief judge. "The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community." The issue has been a source of religious and ethnic tension as Malaysia struggles with issues related to minority rights. The decision was greeted with cries of "Allahu Akbar" from around 200 gathered Muslims. But supporters of the newspaper say that the word "Allah" predates Islam and Christians in Malaysia have used it for centuries; lawyers plan to appeal the decision to the country's highest court.