January 04, 2008

Newspaper Barred from Using Word "Allah"

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) With a majority population comprised of followers of the religion of peace, it's not surprising that Malaysia lacks freedom of the press. Therefore, a Catholic newspaper has been barred from using the word 'Allah.'

Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of Kuala Lumpur-based 'Herald - the Catholic Weekly' was reported this week as saying the government had renewed its publishing permit, without restrictions, after earlier ruling that non-Muslims are forbidden from using the word Allah.

But Abdullah Md Zin, a minister for religious affairs, said on Friday the ban on the use of the word remained despite the renewal of the permit.

"It was just the priest's interpretation that there was no restriction on the use of the word," Abdullah told Reuters.

This is the latest in a series of disputes that is feeding fears of a gradual erosion of the rights of non-Muslims.

Politically dominant ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 percent of the population of roughly 26 million, while the ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities include Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.

Maybe non-Muslims should just use [redacted] or [blank] when referring to Allah. Of course, that may cause other problems. "Praise [redacted]!" or "The Muslims worship [blank]" might be considered offensive.

By at 10:06 AM | Comments |