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2013-10-19

ASIA/MALAYSIA - The Government: the judgment on "Allah" only applies to the weekly Herald, not the Bible and the liturgy

Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - The ban on the use of the word "Allah" is only for the weekly Catholic Herald, and not for other Christian publications or the Bible in Malay language, called "Al-Kitab", widely used in the states of Sabah and Sarawak: this was specified by the Malaysian deputy Minister of the Interior, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. As Fides learns, there is a lively public debate in the Country on the judgment of the Court of Appeals that a few days ago banned the weekly Herald to use the term "Allah" to refer to God. Religious and political leaders, together with intellectuals and members of civil society, are trying to explain the verdict to citizenship, to prevent radical groups from giving a restrictive interpretation. The Christian communities of different denominations, in fact, as announced by the Bishops, will continue to use the term "Allah" for worship and in the Bible.
In a note sent to Fides, the "Christian Federation of Malaysia" (CFM) had warned of the danger that the prohibition on the use of the word "Allah" could have "far-reaching implications and affect all Christian publications printed in the local language, Bahasa".
An appeal to "understand the judgment and not to exploit it" also came from the "Associations of Malay Muslim lawyers". President Zainur Rijal Abu Bakar confirmed that "the judgment concerns only the publication of the weekly Herald, and nothing beyond that". It would be a serious misunderstanding, says the Association in a statement sent to Fides, to "believe that the Court's decision puts the general prohibition to use the word Allah to any non-Muslim citizen in Malaysia". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/10/2013)

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