We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $19,155 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
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!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($19,155 to go):
$25,400.00 $6,245.00
75% 25%
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.

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

Climate Change and Vatican II: Insights! May 1
Are Catholic schools Catholic? A strange case in San Francisco. May 1
We've already redefined marriage, by accepting contraception May 1
Henri de Lubac's fascinating notes on Vatican II May 1
The Church of England’s satirical take on climate change May 1

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21