News / Asia

Malaysian Churches Firebombed in Dispute Over Use of Word 'Allah'

TEXT SIZE - +

Three Malaysian churches have been firebombed in as tensions over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims intensify.

The churches in the capital Kuala Lumpur were hit by incendiary devices early on Friday ahead of planned protests by Muslims over a High Court decision to end a ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

The court has suspended its December 31 decision pending an appeal by the government. The government imposed the ban, saying use of the word could lead to confusion and conversions among members of the Islamic faith.

The first-floor office in the three-story Metro Tabernacle Church was worst hit, destroyed in a blaze a little after midnight. There were no injuries in any of the attacks.

Police have urged Muslims not to take part in planned street demonstrations.

Father Lawrence Andrew is the editor of the Catholic newspaper The Herald which challenged the government ban in the courts. He says people with grievances over the use of the word should act within the law.

"It is unfortunate, it is irresponsible and there is no respect for the rights and property of others," he said.  "They should approach the proper channels and not flex their muscles on the people. It is becoming the law of the jungle right now and they should stop this."

About 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people are Malay Muslims, while the rest are ethnic Chinese, Indians and indigenous tribes. The minorities follow Christianity, Hinduism and other religions.

Malay-speaking indigenous tribes, living in Sabah and Sarawak, are the main readers of the Herald's Malay-language edition. Catholic officials say "Allah" is the only word they know for God.

Protests by Christians here in Sabah were called off on Wednesday because of fears of a government crackdown and claims that police were being dispatched in force.

The word Allah has been part of religious teachings within Christian circles in Malaysia for more than 370 years.

Multi-ethnic Malaysia has kept racial tensions under control since race riots hit the country in the late 1960s. However, in the past few years, minorities have increasingly complained of government discrimination and argue that the nation's Sharia court, which rules on family matters for Muslims, is unfair to them.
 

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid