News / Asia

Top Malaysian Court Rules 'Allah' Only for Muslims

A Muslim man stands outside the court in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur, June 23, 2014.
A Muslim man stands outside the court in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur, June 23, 2014.
VOA News
Malaysia's highest court has upheld a government ban against a Roman Catholic newspaper using the word "Allah" to refer to God.
 
The Federal Court ruled in a four-to-three decision Monday that the church's Malay-language newspaper, The Herald, had no grounds to appeal a lower court decision last year that Allah should be reserved exclusively for Muslims, because if other religions use the word, it could be confusing and lead Muslims to convert. 
 
Such conversion is illegal in Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the population of 30 million are Muslim - the country's official religion. Just over 9 percent are Christian.
 
Monday's ruling ends a dispute that has been ongoing since 2007, when Malaysia's Home Ministry threatened to revoke the publishing permit of The Herald for using the Arabic word in its Malay-language edition.
 
The editor of the newspaper, Reverend Lawrence Andrew, said he is "disappointed" by the decision, and said the four judges who voted against the appeal "did not touch on fundamental basic rights of minorities."
 
Christian groups argue that they have used the word Allah to refer to God in their Bibles and songs for many years - long before authorities began enforcing the ban several years ago.

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Comments
     
by: Abid Kiamkhani from: Karachi
June 24, 2014 2:05 PM
Foolish people without knowledge of religion are great in number both in eastern and western.

Intelligent and truthful people among Jews, Christians and Muslims should unite themselves and educate the world.


by: osuagwu
June 24, 2014 5:43 AM
This type of behavior is a propellant for radicalization.


by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
June 23, 2014 11:38 PM
How come the word "ALLAH" became so popular in Christian communities living in developing countries? While in the Western countries if any one utters "Allah" or "Allah-u-Akbar" at any given airports, he/she will be arrested on the spot and will be accused of terrorism.

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