Christian publications can use 'Allah' on condition

Hamidah Atan


Christian publications are now allowed to use the word "Allah" as long as they state that the materials are only meant for Christians.

Home Ministry Quran Publication Control and Text Division secretary Che Din Yusoh said the move which came into effect on Feb 16 followed the gazettement of the cabinet's decision in 1986.

The cabinet's decision was that Christian publications were banned from using four words - Allah, Baitullah, Kaabah and solat (prayer) - unless the publications clearly stated that the materials were only meant for Christian followers.

"We decided to gazette the move recently. However, those who failed to adhere to this condition will have their publications seized by the ministry's enforcement officers.

"We will be firm to ensure compliance. It is only fair that they adhere to it," he said.
Reverend Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Catholic Church's The Herald, was quoted by a news portal as saying that the ministry is allowing the publications to use "Allah" to refer to God as long as they state that the material is only meant for Christians.

The controversy first broke out in late 2007 when the government banned the use of “Allah” in Christian Malay-language texts because it allegedly might confuse Muslims.

The Herald has challenged the ban in court.

The Herald publishes in English, Mandarin, Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia to cater to its multi-ethnic faithful. It has a circulation of 14,000 copies.

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