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Friday, February 27, 2009

The word ‘Allah’ in print only, but say it not.

“The word “Allah” to mean God for non-Muslims is still in place,” said a Malaysian Catholic priest involved in a court dispute over its use. The Associated Press had reported on 26th February 2009 that the ban had been lifted with conditions. When this piece of good news was known, there was euphoria amongst the Christian community in Sabah. The celebration was too soon. My hand phone was congested with sms last night to inform me of the good news, for obvious reason that they wanted me to publish it in this blog. But, alas, the lifting of the ban was conditional – in print only but uttering of the word is still prohibited - the order does not allow Christians to use it orally, whether celebrating Mass or other forms of prayer and worship. “If I had a Malay Bible, but if ‘FOR CHRISTIANITY’ were not printed on its front cover, ahhh, trouble,” Rev. Fr Lawrence Andrew said, the editor of the Herald, a Catholic weekly newspaper. “The ban has not been lifted,” Fr. Lawrence told The Malaysian Insider Wednesday afternoon. He said he had recently received a letter from the Home Ministry reinforcing the rule forbidding the word “Allah” in a non-Muslim context. He explained the ban made exceptions for Christians to use the word “Allah” only in print and under stringent conditions. “The printing, publishing, sale, issue, circulation and possession of any document and publication relating to Christianity containing the words ‘Allah’, ‘Kaabah’, ‘Baitullah’ and ‘Solat’ are prohibited unless on the front cover of the document and publication are written with the words ‘FOR CHRISTIANITY’,” Fr Lawrence said, quoting from the letter dated Feb 16, 2009. “The words ‘FOR CHRISTIANITY’ referred to in subparagraph (1) shall be written clearly in font type Arial of size 16 in bold,” he added. The notification, which falls under the Internal Security Act, was gazetted on Feb 16 this year. “We feel good we can use ‘Allah’ again,” Fr Lawrence said, adding that the March 1 issue of The Herald will bear the required warning on its front page. But he is wary of celebrating too soon, noting that the order does not allow Christians to use it orally, whether celebrating Mass or other forms of prayer and worship. Fr Lawrence noted that with the case still going on, the government’s latest move could be seen as acting in contempt of court. Today, the High Court here will resume hearing the judicial review filed last year by the Catholic Church against the government over the “Allah” ban. Asraf Abdullah: As a Muslim convert, I find this letter un-called for and it is very offensive and disrespectful not only to the Christian communities but also to the whole country as well. To share with you what Asraf Abdullah and the others say about this isue. 'Allah': Archbishop to seek AG's views
Note: There is a petition online now. 
An Appeal TO RECONSIDER THE USE OF THE WORD "ALLAH" addressed to YAB DATO' SERI ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI, PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA. Do your part to voice your concern over this issue. 


  1. Gundohing,

    "Allah" is Universal. It doesn't belong to anybody, but everybody. For the sake of argument, if anyone still wants to debate about the ownership of "Allah", then it certainly belongs to the Arabs, of which language (Arabic)the word is derived from. But you know what, the Arabs do not mind that we Christians use it. So, what is the big deal?Mind you, There are Christian or Non-Muslim Arabs too. "Allah" is not exclusive to the Malaysian Muslims, nor it is exclusive to the 27 million or so Muslims in China (who are by the way, indifferent to what's happening here). - Sisindion

  2. There is an online petition right now. Please spread the news. Thank you.

  3. Gundohing,
    In the early 1970s (in Keningau)when I was a mere child I remember vividly how sad and bewildered I was when I got news that our priets were taken away to Kepayan and deported soon after. For several months we had no priests to say the Holy Mass and we relied on cathechists to lead the prayers in church. Back then we suffered silently and swallowed the bitter pill of discriminations and unjust acts of certain quarters in goverment.Despite the dominating influence of the state religion , the church continue to grow by leaps and bounds and we are now blessed with many local priests and religious and a vibrant christian communities in three dioceses ! So God never failed us and reward us with faith and hope. The restriction on the use of the word " Allah" pose a challenge to us . How do we respond to that? Are we resentful or even angry because our "rights" as Malaysian citizens would be violated? Do we look up to our politicians, the law, the federal constitution, the power of petitions to get us out of this present predicament? God works in mysterious ways, whatever the outcome we still have our faith and our life in God !!

  4. The original language of Al-Quran is Arabic. The name of God in Islam?Arabic is Allah. The original language of Bible (Injil) was Hebrew. What is the name of God in Hebrew? It is not Allah so why change to Allah? Think again, Suppose the original bible (Injil) was revealed in Dusun language then the name og God should read and spelled as 'Kinorohingan' or 'kinoingan',. Is it logical we use Allah in dusun original language. What a rojak!.

  5. Linundus replies ...

    Anonymous should read my posting at

    He might understand better after reading it.