Malaysia re-imposes ban on word 'Allah' usage

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Kuala Lumpur, Mar.1 (ANI): The Malaysian Government has re-imposed a ban on Christian publications from using the word 'Allah.'

Malaysian Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar has said that the government will seek cancellation of the February 16 gazette, which said that Christian publications could use the word 'Allah' provided the words 'For Christians' were clearly printed on the front cover.

"The government's stand on the ban has not changed. There is also a judicial review challenging the ban," The Star quoted Albar, as saying.

Apart from barring the use of 'Allah', the ban on Christian publications also includes prohibitions on using words like 'Kaabah,' 'Solat' and 'Baitullah'.

"It is just that the government wants to avoid any confusion," Albar added.

Earlier, editor of the Catholic Herald magazine in Malaysia, Father Lawrence Andrew, had claimed that recently gazetted Internal Security Act signed by the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar on February 16 permits them to use 'Allah' in its publications.

"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," Andrew had said.

The Home Ministry's Quran Publication Control and Text Division secretary, Che Din Yusoh, also had confirmed the content of the gazetted Act.

The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) had also urged the government to lift the condition on the usage of word "Allah" in Christian Publications.

MCA's 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," Sieu said. (ANI)

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