Christians urge Malaysian Govt. to remove conditions on usage of 'Allah'

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 28 (ANI): Malaysian Chinese Association has urged the government to lift the condition on the usage of word "Allah" in Christian Publications.

MCA Political education Bureau head Gan Ping Sieu said condition usage of "Allah" in print form was unacceptable and an affront to common sense.

"The majority of Christians are bumiputras from Sabah and Sarawak and the orang asli, whose mother tongue is Bahasa Malaysia. Because they speak and pray in Bahasa Malaysia as it is their first language, the Government must lift the ban not only for printed publications but also for oral references to God as 'Allah," the Star Online quoted him, as saying.

He said MCA acknowledged that the Home Ministry had heeded calls from Christian groups to allow the use of the word in their publications, albeit with conditions.

Gan said the latest government gazette should not only control Christian publications from referring to God as "Allah".

"The Government should come out clearer that 'Allah' may be also used by the Sikhs. There should not be different standards for different religions in referring to God as 'Allah' as it will confuse Malaysians," he said.

The Council of Churches of Malaysia has made similar calls asking the Government to not accept the use of the term "Allah" as an exclusive heritage of one religion.

"This is an unfair imposition and unwarranted restriction on the practice of the Christian religion in this country. We regret that the Government did not see fit to engage with us before introducing this order," said the council's general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri.

Earlier, the Government gazette had permitted the publication of the word Allah in Catholic Herald magazine' only when the publication agreed to clearly state the word was "For Christians only" in its masthead.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said this was stated in the recently gazetted Internal Security Act signed by the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar on February 16.

"The next edition of the Herald will contain the word Allah, and we will print the words "For Christians only" on the masthead so as not to contravene the Act," he said.

It is learnt the Act also forbids the use of the words Kaabah, solat and baitullah. (ANI)

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