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Malaysian Muslims object to Christian use of word 'Allah'

Catholic World News - July 22, 2011

Muslim leaders in Malaysia are insisting that Christians must stop using the word “Allah” in reference to the Christian God.

The use of “Allah” as a translation of “God” in the Malay Bible “must be abandoned because it erroneously represents the two religions as equal,” said Mohd Sani Badron, a leading Islamic scholar.

Malaysia’s Catholic newspaper has won a decision in the nation’s supreme court, allowing the use of “Allah” in its pages to refer to God. But the paper is still unable to use that word, because government officials have appealed the decision. Christians explain that “Allah” has been used routinely as a word referring to the Supreme Being—not necessarily the Islamic deity. The renewed dispute comes during the same week when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak met with Pope Benedict XVI and made a commitment to establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican. The Malaysian leader said that his visit to the Vatican shows that although the country is officially Islamic, “we are an inclusive government.” Speaking of the nation’s Christian minority, he said: “We accept them. We can engage with them. We can have dialogue with them because we want to uphold peace in this world.”

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  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Jul. 22, 2011 7:26 PM ET USA

    The Arabic word "Allah" simply means "God." It was used by Christians before Mohammed -- he appropriated it. Why should we abandon a perfectly good word to the Muslims? I have been to ancient Melkite Catholic Liturgies where the Arabic prayers are directed to "Allah", AKA "GOD." This is nothing new -- it is very old. Let's not abdicate.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jul. 22, 2011 6:30 PM ET USA

    I think Christians should take this opportunity to stop using "Allah" entirely. Six centuries after Christ died, Mohammed proclaimed a supreme being who is fundamentally different from God. "Allah" personifies the denial of the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit as the Holy Trinity. The name has become inextricably associated with Islamic doctrine. Whatever he is, Allah cannot be God, and Christians do not worship him.

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