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     Home > Church >  2013-08-26 18:05:43
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Tension rises in Malaysia as court prepares to hear an appeal that seeks to forbid Christians to use the word Allah for God

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, His Grace Murphy Pakiam, has asked the government to withdraw its appeal against a ruling made in 2009 allowing Christians to use the Arabic word Allah for God. The state had argued that the word was reserved for Moslems. The Catholic Church went to court after threats by the country’s Minister for Internal affairs to cancel the license of the Catholic weekly Newspaper, the Herald, if it continued to use the word Allah in its publications in the local Malay language. The Church won the case but the government filed an appeal. Last week the court of appeal said it would hear the appeal in two weeks’ time on September 10th. Archbishop Pakiam said at the weekend that the case touches the sphere of human rights and religious freedom. Prosecutors said the trial will see the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on one side, as head of the Catholic weekly and the Malaysian government as defender of the people of Malaysia on the other side. The Director of the Herald, Fr. Lawrence Andrew, said the Church does not want to make a political or a religious case out of the conflict, but wants justice. Reports from the country say a radical Muslim organization known as Perkasa is mobilizing the public to put pressure on the judges to rule against the church. The secretary General of the organisation, Syed Hassan Syed Ali, called for the unity of all Moslems in Malaysia for the cause of Allah, stressing that Christians are threatening the sanctity of Islam. This radical approach has fueled religious tensions and is creating fear and hatred among some Muslims against Christianity. The Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has assured the public that Malaysia is not an Islamic Orthodox state and appealed to the people to respect the religious sensibilities of others.


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