Malaysian ministry bans use of term 'Allah' by non-Muslims [CNA]


#1

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar 8, 2014 / 08:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Home Ministry of Malaysia has banned the use of the word “Allah” in a children’s comic book, continuing disputes over non-Muslims’ ability to use the word.

An issue of the children’s comic book Ultraman referring to the super hero as “respected as Allah or elder” by other heroes, contains  “elements that may threaten public order,” the Malaysian Home Ministry said in a March 7 statement.

“If the matter isn’t curbed, it could damage Muslim’s children faith by equating Allah with Ultraman,” the Home Ministry continued.

The government stated that the series itself is not banned, but the Malay-language issue that uses the world was prohibited, with a maximum jail sentence of three years for anyone caught distributing the book.

The ban comes amid a continuing dispute in the Malaysian legal system over non-Muslim’s right to use “Allah” to refer to God. “Allah” is the Malay language equivalent of the English word “god,” and is a loanword from Arabic. Malay is the official language of the country, and Malaysians of all religions use the word; not just Muslims.

The term “Allah” is used around the world by Arab Christians, and has been included in the Malaysian version of the Bible for 400 years.

Muslims comprise about 60 percent of the Malaysian 30-million-person population, while Christians comprise slightly under 10 percent of the population. While the Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, Islam is the established religion.

In October 2013, a Malaysian Court ruled against a Catholic newspaper for using “Allah” to refer to God, saying that the term belonged specifically to Muslims, and use by Christians may tempt some Muslims to convert to Christianity.

The court's verdict “violates the right to religious freedom and freedom of expression enshrined in the (Malaysian) constitution,” said Fr. Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald, the newspaper which the suit regarded.

“It is a retrograde step in the development of law in relation to the fundamental liberty of religious minorities,” he added.

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#2

This is just sick…
The word “belongs” to muslims???

:confused:


#3

I’m guessing Malaysia doesn’t have freedom of speech laws.


#4

Father Lawrence Andrew stated at the end of the OP that it violated the constitution of Malaysia. :slight_smile:

With that said, it occurs to me that if you are so fearful of your God’s identity being confused with that of a cartoon figure then you must not have much belief in either the intelligence or the convictions of those of said religion. Yes, I know these are supposed to be children we are talking about and perhaps the reference was an inappropriate one, but truly, parents could spend 5 minutes with a child and clear up the misapprehension.

Finally, if one can use the general term for God from a religion in a writing by another faith that is obviously using it as a general term for God and by doing so tempt away members of that first faith, I would go further and say that they indeed were not as committed and invested in that faith to begin with, or at least that is the impression that the Malaysian government, in this case, is giving of it’s people.

ETA: It does also make me wonder if one cannot use the Malaysian word for God (even if it is a loanword) when speaking of God, if you are not Muslim… then what pray tell word do you use?


#5

Probably the name of Jesus or a synonym for God? I know in Spanish, Christians almost never use the words “God” or “Jesus” directly in worship, rather using words like: “Jesus Christ”, “the Almighty”, “Lord”, etc.


#6

VanSensi:
Probably the name of Jesus or a synonym for God? I know in Spanish, Christians almost never use the words “God” or “Jesus” directly in worship, rather using words like: “Jesus Christ”, “the Almighty”, “Lord”, etc.

I’m pretty sure I hear the words “God” and “Jesus” a number of times at Mass :shrug: and I don’t mean just in the homily. For the record my only fluent language is English so I can’t vouch for the words in any other language’s Mass.

In any case, this is not in reference, in either case, to the rubics of actual church services but to other media, contested so far it seems, in the written word. One would assume that if someone is going to Mass they are already interested in Catholicism to some degree after all.

I don’t know. It still shows poorly, in my opinion, to have created this sort of restriction, which makes little sense and shows the population in such a poor light according to the determination of the electorate. And that they would go against their own constitution to make these rulings is worrisome for the soundness of their judgement and their opinion of the people that they have been entrusted with the leadership of.


#7

Maybe ‘Tuhan’?


#8

That seems like it would work. Odd that it is not mentioned in all the press about the restriction as in: “Instead of Allah, non-muslims would have to use the term Tuhan instead.” :cool: Perhaps there is some reason this was omitted aside from lazy or biased reporting?


#9

I guess it’s like saying something akin to this, “Superman is a powerful and respected guy, much like God.”

They want to reserve Allah for God - capital G. Which I think is fair.


#10

Which I can certainly understand, if that is the case. However, the probability of that motivation is undermined by the censure of the use of Allah in a Catholic publication where it was most certainly used in reference to “GOD” just as that reasoning would have them wish. So again, I am somewhat bemused. :shrug:


closed #11

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