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Malaysia: prime minister, leading prelate discuss application of ‘Allah’ ruling

Catholic World News - October 24, 2013

A Malaysian court’s recent ruling ordering a Catholic newspaper not to refer to God as “Allah” does not mean that the word’s use is banned in Bibles and in worship, Prime Minister Najib Razak said on October 21.

“Muslims should not hurt the feelings of non-Muslims, and non-Muslims should not hurt the feelings of Muslims,” he said, according to a report in The Star, the nation’s leading English-language newspaper.

Malaysia’s attorney general confirmed that the word may continue to be used in Malay Bibles, BBC reported.

“For centuries the Bahasa Malaysia translation and the Arabic equivalent of one God is the sacred word ‘Allah,’ which the Christians have been using peacefully,” said Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, the nation’s leading prelate.

“To conclude that the word Allah is not essential to the Christian faith would be a grave denial of the fundamental right of the Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian community to use this word,” he added. “This would be tantamount to signaling a form of persecution.”

According to a Fides report, the prelate further explained that “to translate ‘one God’ in the Malay language, there is no other word than ‘Allah.’”

Citing the first article of creed, he added that “a Christian cannot modify in any way his profession of faith; otherwise, he would incur heresy.”

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