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Catholic World News

Malaysia: court setback for Christians on use of “Allah”

August 22, 2013

A Malaysian court has agreed to hear an appeal against a previous decision allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” in reference to God.

The Court of Appeal will hear the appeal—which is brought by the country’s Home Ministry—in September. The court rejected a request by Catholic leaders to dismiss the appeal, and let stand the earlier ruling that allowed Catholics to refer to God as “Allah,” following a long-established usage. The court reasons that the use of “Allah” is “still a live issue,” and agreed to take up the dispute once again.

Catholic Church leaders had hoped to avoid a new public debate, fearing an increase of tensions between Christians and Muslims. Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur had asked Catholics to assemble in churches on August 22, the date of the Court of Appeals meeting—to pray for a favorable ruling.


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  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Aug. 23, 2013 12:56 AM ET USA

    Might be a good idea for Malaysia's Christians to just drop the whole thing and pick a substitute name to use for God. Islam has really cornered the use of "Allah" in the popular mind worldwide, and to have Christians using it, too, must inevitably cause confusion.