A Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to cease using the word “Allah” in its Malay language section or it wants to get a renewal of its license to publish. A senior official in the secruity Minister says the word God as “Allah” is only allowed to be used by Muslims and Christians can not use that word without offending those of the Muslim faith. “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.”
Although the nation’s constitution promises freedom of religion, many religious minorities complain about denial of their right to practice their religious beliefs. They have been denied the right to construct churches and Hindus have complained about demolition of temples by government authorities. Rev. Lawrence
Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the 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 prayer and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah.” Government officials argue the word “Allah” is not used in English prayers so why should it be used in Malay?
At some point, Muslim religious authorities should cease trying to tell people in other religions how to pray or what to say during their prayers. To make such determinations should rest with God or Allah or the Supreme Being, but never with we mere mortals.