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  • » 03/16/2011, 00.00

    MALAYSIA

    Malaysian government releases 35 thousand Bibles to halt controversy over term "Allah"



    Kuala Lumpur cedes to pressure and protests, and allows the Bibles imported from Indonesia to enter the country. The books will overwrite the "only for Christians." Fears of conversions from Islam.

    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The government has released 35 thousand Bibles in Malay language still held at port where they were unloaded. It was the government itself to announce the decision, after the controversy related to the use of the word "Allah" to mean "God." The government had banned the use of the term Allah by Christians, in particular the “Catholic Herald" newspaper. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Christians, but the government appealed, and in the meantime blocked two loads of Bibles from Indonesia. (03/12/2011 Christians protest: government blocks 30 thousand Bibles in Malay).

    Their release is related to a 1982 Act that allows "a limited and controlled importation and circulation of Bibles in the Malay language, labelled: 'Christians only'," said Idris Jala, an official of the Department of the Prime Minister. "This is a reasonable compromise to handle the polarization of views between Christians and Muslims in the country," the official added. The government had said earlier that the use of the word "Allah" for God by the Christian minority could cause confusion and encourage conversion from Islam, illegal in the predominantly Muslim country.

    60% of Malaysians are Sunni Muslims (the official religion of the country), and approximately 19% practice Buddhism, 9% are Christians and 6% Hindus. The remainder is divided between Chinese religions and philosophies, and traditional beliefs.

    On 14 March, the bishop of the Diocese of Malacca-Johor, Paul Tan, had officially protested, taking a rare stance  against the blockade of the Bibles ("Al Kitab" in Malay) calling the decision "a blatant example of hypocrisy" , and "a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of religion guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, and defended by Pope Benedict XVI as the right to protect the dignity of the human person and his freedom of conscience."
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    See also

    22/07/2011 MALAYSIA
    Malaysia: Christians can not use "Allah" to define God
    Prominent Muslim religious figure intimates that the use of the word "Allah" for God has to stop because it can arouse the wrath of the Islamic community. The attack comes only days after Pope Benedict XVI received the Malaysian Premier to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

    03/01/2014 MALAYSIA
    Some 300 Bibles seized over 'Allah' controversy, a move Malaysian priest calls "unlawful and unconstitutional"
    In the State of Selangor, the authorities raid a Christian centre and seize hundreds of copies of the sacred text. Fr Lawrence Andrew calls the action "wrong" and contrary to the nation's values. Sources tell AsiaNews that Catholics are being pressured to drop the case and that religious freedom is being progressively restricted.

    12/03/2011 MALAYSIA
    Christians protest: government blocks 30 thousand Bibles in Malay
    The Christian Federation of Malaysia express the disappointment, anger and despair of Christians in a statement: "It would seem that the authorities are conducting an ongoing program, surreptitiously and systematically against Christians in Malaysia, denying them access to the Bible in the Malay language. " The block tied to the controversy on the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God

    12/07/2014 MALAYSIA
    For Sepang Muslim MP, Catholic rights violated in Allah controversy
    Mohamed Hanipa Maidin demands justice for ‘The Herald’ and Malaysia’s Christian community, which has been under attack for some time. The decision to turn down a request for leave to appeal is against the Constitution because the case touches the public interest and raises an important constitutional question. Wondering about the “actual meaning of religious freedom" in Malaysia, he reiterated that Catholics did not violate any rule or principle.

    22/08/2016 10:13:00 MALAYSIA
    Kuala Lumpur, arrests famous rapper: "He insulted Islam"

    Namewee, stage name of Wee Meng Chee, was stopped at the airport in the capital yesterday after returning from a trip abroad. In the song "Oh My God" he used the word "Allah" and sounds similar to the Islamic call to prayer. The singer: "I did not mean to offend anyone but promote harmony between religions".





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