Moderate Muslim Watch: Malaysia court dismisses Catholic appeal to use ‘Allah’ for ‘God’

One of the hundreds of photos of Muslims protesting on the subject. Google “Malaysia protest Allah” to see more.

(Reuters) – Malaysia’s Federal Court dismissed on Wednesday the Catholic Church’s application to review a judgment that prevented a Christian publication from using the word Allah to refer to God, ending a legal battle that began in 2007.

The Church’s bid was unanimously rejected because the threshold required for a review was not met, the judges said.

Conservative Muslim groups declared victory when the nation’s top court last year upheld a ruling preventing usage of the word Allah in the Malay language section of the Church’s weekly newspaper.

A court had previously ruled that the word was exclusive to majority Malay Muslims. Christians make up about 9 percent of Malaysia’s 29 million people.

Last January, religious authorities in Selangor state seized over 300 Malay Bibles from a Christian group, saying they acted on a decree by the sultan of that state forbidding non-Muslims from using Allah.


So you mean I have been lied to? I was assured that Islam was an ‘Abrahamic faith’ worshipping the same God as Jews and Christians. Again, of course, I reeling in shock.  

The problem appears to be that they are afraid that some Muslims will become confused and might accidentally become Christians, even thought Malaysian law requires Malaysian natives to be Muslims (many Christians are Chinese).   More on subject at Wikipedia.

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  • simus1

    malaysian muslims tend to have a bit of an inkling that their so called religion is very much lacking in what critics might call provenance so they tend to get quite touchy about anything that might “cause confusion”. The fact that the generic non arabic word “allah” meaning god was in common use among more advanced societies than theirs long before mo ever showed up is not something they want to dwell on.

  • favill

    Good….as a Christian my God is Yahweh or Jehova….or just God…It never will be Allah–a moon deity worshipped by Arabian tribesmen pre-Islam.

    • Exile1981

      Actually I think your confusing the issue. In the Mala language there is a word which Christians use to mean God and which muslims have recently started using to also mean allah. Now they have outlawed any meaning of the word but allah. The actual word is Tuhan; by saying the Christians want to use allah as the word for God the media is siding with the muslims.

      The fact is the word Tuhan was used by Christians in Malaysia long before there were even any muslims. From some articles I read it looks like the word was also used by the polytheists to refer to any of their gods generically.

      • ntt1

        it is the same word in Thailand but used more as an honorific toward someone with much higher status.

      • winniec

        “”Tuhan”—Malay for “Lord”—is one alternative, but Catholic officials have said it isn’t an accurate translation. Some conservative Islamic leaders disagree, saying that Muslims could be misled by Christians using “Allah” and that it should be reserved for Islam alone. The Christian Federation of Malaysia said that about 60% of the approximately 2.6 million Christians in the country of 28 million use the word “Allah” to refer to God.” – Wall Street Journal
        My own comment is that the Tetragrammaton (‘Jehovah’ in English) is used almost 7,000 times in the Bible. Allah is not in the Bible. Even in Arabic ‘god’ is ‘ilah’.
        The Roman Catholics shouldn’t have any trouble with this. Why not use ‘Deus’? …that’s Latin.
        Big deal. The real problem is the RACIST LAW that claims Malays may not leave Islam because they are part of a race.

    • Frau Katze

      Malaysia has an unusual history, and the convention developed some time ago.

  • The word for God is God, not Allah.

    However, I am pleased to see that this further exposes the stranglehold the non-native Islamic religion has on Malaysia and other non-Arab states.

  • ntt1

    Allah is not and never was the G-D of Judao-Christianity, he is the other guy, the one indians refer to as the trickster.

    • Xanthippa Socrates

      While I don’t know about the trickster god part, the first part of your statement that the Islamic God is not the same as the Christian and Jewish God is clearly articulated in Sura 109. Good on you for pointing it out!

  • birdie numnum

    Gallah new name for Islamic god.