A Malaysian church was attacked with firebombs early Monday, police said, escalating tensions in a long-running dispute over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.
Penang state police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi said two men on a motorcycle threw Molotov cocktails into the compound of The Assumption Church. No one was injured.
The attack came after unknown people hung a provocative banner outside five Penang churches, including The Assumption, on Sunday. The banner read in English: “Allah is great, Jesus is the son of Allah.”
The churches said they had nothing to do with the banner and that it was put up to create animosity between Muslims and Christians in the majority-Muslim Southeast Asian nation. They complained to police.
The wording of the banner was likely to be highly provocative to Muslims. Hardliners and the government object to the use of “Allah” by Christians, saying that it could confuse Muslims and lead them to convert. Muslims don’t believe Allah had a son.
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