Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Malaysian court rules Christians cannot use 'Allah' to refer to God

Catholic World News - October 14, 2013

An appeals court in Malaysia has ruled that Christians cannot use the word “Allah.”

Reversing a lower court’s ruling from 2009, the Court of Appeals said that the word “Allah” can only be used by Muslims, although Christians in the Asian country have traditionally used the word to refer to God.

“The usage of the word ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity,” the Court of Appeals ruled, in arguing that a ban on use of the word by non-Muslims would not violate the religious freedom of the Christian minority.

Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Malaysia Herald, told AsiaNews that the Catholic newspaper would appeal appeals court’s decision to the country’s federal court. The controversy over the use of “Allah” had begun when government authorities threatened to strip the Herald of its license to publish because the paper used that term. The Herald won an earlier court decision to continue publishing, but angry Muslims protested that decision and have continued pressing the government to enforce a ban on the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($33,668 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,332.00
96% 4%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Oct. 14, 2013 10:38 PM ET USA

    Why does the Maylasian Church need to find another word? The Arabic word "Allah" ("the God") predates Islam. I have heard Eastern Catholics using it in liturgies in Israel. Why should we WILLINGLY abandon the common Arabic word for God? Next, we can abandon "Dios," "Gott," "Dieu" and even "God," since other non-Christian religions also use these terms.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Oct. 14, 2013 7:30 PM ET USA

    Some Christians believe--contrary to VCII--that Muslims are pagans and that their Allah is actually a moon god, just the only god they pray to. VCII taught that they pray to the same God we do, but deny the three persons. It looks like the Malaysian church needs to find another word.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision 8 hours ago
Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited 12 hours ago
A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear June 30
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects June 30
In the Aftermath of Obergefell June 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15
Cardinal Kasper: Pope never approved my proposal CWN - June 4