Friday, December 21, 2007


A Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to drop the use of the word "Allah" in its Malay language section if it wants to renew its publishing permit, a senior government official said Friday.

The Herald, the organ of Malaysia's Catholic Church, has translated the word God as "Allah" but it is erroneous because Allah refers to the Muslim God, said Che Din Yusoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry's publications control unit.

"Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people," Che Din told The Associated Press.

The editor objects to being forced to abandon the word.

The Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the weekly's use of the word Allah was not intended to offend Muslims.

"We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah," he told the AP.

"This is not something new. The word Allah has been used in Malaysia for a long time. There is no confusion," he said.

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