Sunday, January 3, 2010

Restrict how 'Allah' is used

KUALA TERENGGANU - THE Malaysian High Court's decision allowing a Catholic weekly publication to use the term 'Allah' must be governed by strict conditions, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

'What I am afraid of is that the term 'Allah' might be used in such a way that could inflame the anger of Muslims, if they were to use it on banners or write something that might not reflect Islam,' he said.

Tun Dr Mahathir said whatever justifications offered for the approval, it would not defuse the anger of Muslims in the country.

'This is because 'God' in other religions is translated as 'Tuhan' in Bahasa Melayu or Arabic, not 'Allah'. 'Allah' specifically referred to God in Islam,' he told reporters after a function in the capital of Terengganu.

He was responding to the High Court ruling on Thursday that lifted the Home Ministry's ban on the Roman Catholic church using 'Allah' in its newspaper, The Herald.

The church had been banned before from using 'Allah', but the Home Ministry lifted the ban upon appeal. When it was re-imposed in 2007, the church took the issue to court.

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