In Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, Christians are forbidden from using the word “Allah”. A Malaysian Catholic newspaper challenged the government ban, but was rejected unanimously by the Court of Appeal. In the Malay language “Allah” means God. So, after centuries of its use, Christians in Malaysia are, in effect, now forbidden from saying God. Only Muslims have that exclusive right.
According to UCA News,
A Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia this week lost its latest legal battle over the right to use the word ‘Allah’ for God in its local language edition.
In a case that has sparked nationwide debate over which religion has exclusive rights to the word Allah, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the government’s efforts to ban the use of the word in Christian publications will continue. The next hearing is scheduled for September 10.
The Malay Mail explains why this edict is so crippling to Malaysian Christians. The following are just a few examples,
However, more than 60 per cent of Malaysian Christians only speak Bahasa Malaysia, and the word used for God in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible (Al-Kitab) since its translation in 1731, is ‘Allah’. …
… from the very beginning, the word ‘Allah’ has been used in the liturgy, prayers and worship of those Christians who speak Bahasa Malaysia. But for centuries, there has been no opposition or uproar about their use of ‘Allah’.
As stated earlier, the word ‘Allah’ pre-dates Islam. It is not a creation of the Muslims and its existence does not begin in the Al-Quran. …
In the Malay language, ‘Allah’ means ‘God’ and Tuhan means ‘Lord’. As is obvious when we read the Bible, both God and Lord are used in the Bible, and both have different connotations. Therefore ‘Allah’ cannot be substituted by ‘Tuhan’. … The word Tuhan has been applied to Jesus Christ and read as Tuhan Yesus.
If Christians are to substitute the word ‘Allah’ for Tuhan, it will render many Biblical references to God and Jesus incoherent. …
• Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians will not be able to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ and teach the doctrine of the Trinity as these two foundational words are essential to maintain and communicate these truths.
Nice example of Obama’s religion of fairness, peace, and tolerance.
Hat tip: Joe Hoft (Jim’s twin brother, who lives in Hong Kong)