#AceNewsServices – MALAYSIA – June 23 – Malaysia’s top court ruled Monday that non-Muslims cannot use the word “Allah” to refer to God.
The court rejected a challenge by the Roman Catholic Church and upheld a government ban on the use of the word.
Most Christians in Malaysia worship in English, Tamil or various Chinese dialects, and refer to God in those languages.
Some Malay-speaking people on Borneo island have no other word for God but “Allah,” a Malay word derived from Arabic.
(USNews) – The government statement appeared to be an attempt to diffuse tensions in the nation of 29 million people, including a large non-Muslim minority that has often complained that it is treated unfairly in jobs and education and is denied full freedom of religion.
Government officials declined to clarify whether the ban would apply to Bibles and other published texts, as appeared to be the case in last year’s ruling by the Court of Appeals that banned The Herald from using Allah.
The church had asked the Federal Court to overturn the ban, but the court decided not to hear the challenge, declaring that the lower court’s decision had been correct.
"We are disappointed. The four judges who denied us the right to appeal did not touch on fundamental basic rights of minorities," said the Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald.
Allah (English pronunciation: /ˈælə/ or /ˈɑːlə/; Arabic: الله Allāh, IPA: [ʔalˤˈlˤɑːh] ( listen)) is the Arabic name for God (al ilāh, iliterally "the God"). The word has cognates in other Semitic languages, includingAlah in Aramaic, ʾĒl in Canaanite and Elohim in Hebrew.
It is used mainly by Muslims to refer to God in Islam, but it has also been used by Arab Christianssince pre-Islamic times. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used by Bábists, Bahá’ís, Indonesianand Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews.
This has caused political and legal controversies in Peninsular Malaysia