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Use of Allah still banned in Christian publications


March 02 2009

Malaysia´s Home Ministry has reportedly rescinded its decision to allow the conditional use of the word Allah in Christian publications.


A recent issue of ´Herald,´ the Malaysian Catholic weekly

On Feb. 28, local media reported Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar saying his ministry made a mistake in earlier allowing the use of the Arabic word for God. The ministry, on Feb. 16, issued an order allowing the use of Allah in Christian publications as long as they specify their material is not for Muslims.

Muslim groups, however, reportedly urged the government to withdraw its permission, saying it would cause confusion among Muslims.

For the past few years, the Catholic weekly "Herald" has engaged in a dispute with the government on the use of Allah in the section of the weekly printed in Bahasa Malaysia, the national language. A judicial review challenging the ban is pending.

Meanwhile, local media reported that Nik Aziz Nik Mat, spiritual leader of the opposition All-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), said non-Muslims should be allowed to use Allah.