Thursday, May 28, 2009

Malaysia court forbids church to use name 'Allah'

A Malaysian court on Thursday refused to give permission to the Roman Catholic Church to use the word "Allah," thus upholding a government ban that has caused controversial religious tensions in the country.

The Malaysian government has banned the non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" as a translation of God in their publications, saying it would confuse Muslims in this multiethnic, Muslim-majority country.

The High Court rejected an appeal by the church's main publication in Malaysia, the Herald, to have the ban suspended while waiting for a court decision on the ban's legality on July 7.
The Herald 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.

Christian groups say the ban is unconstitutional, arguing that the word "Allah" predates Islam.

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