KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNS) — A Malaysian court said a Catholic newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God in its Malay-language edition.
A judge in the three-member appeals court said use of “the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity. … The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”
Jesuit Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, a Kuala Lumpur-based Catholic weekly, expressed disappointment in the ruling. Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, the paper’s publisher, said the church would appeal the ruling.
In late 2009, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that the Herald could use “Allah” to refer to God and that the Home Ministry’s order banning certain uses of the word was illegal. The court also said the word “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam.
The Oct. 14 Court of Appeals ruling overturned the lower court.
Catholic and other Christian leaders have argued that “Allah” is the Malay word for God; thus, the Herald uses it in its Malay edition. Archbishop Pakiam told Fides, the Vatican’s missionary news agency, that the ruling would not affect church services or Bible readings in the Malay language.
Some Muslims claim Christians using “Allah” could be used to convert Muslims to Christianity. The majority of Malaysia’s 29 million people are Muslim.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: German bishops’ conference investigating multimillion building project
NEXT: In Spain, more than 500 Civil War martyrs move closer to sainthood
Share this story