Prominent Malaysian priest may be charged with sedition in ‘Allah’ controversy
Catholic World News - January 10, 2014
Malaysian police have recommended that the editor of the nation’s Catholic newspaper be charged with sedition, according to a Malaysian Insider report.
Selangor, one of the nation’s 13 states, is governed by a sultan who has decreed that non-Muslims may not use the term “Allah” to address God. Christians in Malaysia have been using the term since the seventeenth century, and Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor, said that Catholic parishes in Selangor would continue to use the term.
The police investigation of Father Andrew follows the Selangor government’s seizure of over 300 Bibles in which “Allah” is used as a translation for God.
Father Augustine Julian, a former secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, told the Fides news agency that “the situation is quite serious. There is great concern in the Catholic Church, because the story has taken a turn for the worse.”
“The investigation of the judiciary in course is a subtle form of pressure towards all Christians,” he added. “There is strong concern in the community and tension with radical Islamic groups.”
The Southeast Asian nation of 29.6 million is 60% Muslim, 19% Buddhist, 6% Hindu, 6% Protestant, and 3% Catholic. Islam is Malaysia’s official religion.
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