Christians Sued for Use of Allah

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My brother Mark sent me this one.  He’s on his way to Malaysia this week to renew his Thai visa.
From a BBC Online article: 
Malaysian row over word for ‘God’ 

(Religious freedom is guaranteed under Malaysian law)

“A church and Christian newspaper in Malaysia are suing the government after it decreed that the word “Allah” can only be used by Muslims.In the Malay language “Allah” is used to mean any god, and Christians say they have used the term for centuries.

Opponents of the ban say it is unconstitutional and unreasonable.

It is the latest in a series of religious rows in largely Muslim Malaysia, where minority groups claim their rights are being eroded.

A spokesman for the Herald, the newspaper of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, said a legal suit was filed after they received repeated official warnings that the newspaper could have its licence revoked if it continued to use the word.

“We are of the view that we have the right to use the word ‘Allah’,” said editor Rev Lawrence Andrew.”

Here’s my reply to Mark:

Thanks for sending it over. Irony comes to mind. After all, the so-called Abrahamic religions all claim to worship the same God, so why wouldn’t the names be interchangeable? Stupid also comes to mind.

And Mark’s back to me just moments ago: 

“Indeed. A Muslim lawyer was complaining in the Malyasian Star, a local paper, that the Muslims were being way too sensitive. Indeed, I read further that the Catholic paper is suing whomever gave that ruling. The lawyer pointed out that Al means the and lah means God in Arabic. It seems futile and yes, dumb. The God of the Jews, Muslims and Christians is the same. It seems especially dumb to have the dispute around Christmas, but there you go.”

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