Friday, 4 January 2008

Tuhan for non-Muslims

Browsing through the foreign wire services this afternoon, I came across an AFP reports related to my earlier posting of a BBC reports. The AFP reports is reproduced below.

Malaysia orders Catholic paper not to use world `Allah'

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4, 2008 (AFP) - Malaysian authorities on Friday reminded a Catholic paper not to use the world `Allah' after is printing permit was renewed but the editor said it would press a lawsuit over the ban.
Deputy Security Minister Mohamad Johari Baharum told AFP that The Herald should comply with the government order.
"We approved the permit. Now the weekly should comply with the government decision not to use the world Allah," he said.
Authorities on Sunday allowed the Herald to continue to print, after earlier threatening to revoke its licence in a row over the use of the word `Allah'.
The publishers then assumed that they could used the word Allah, or God, which is used by church leaders when they deliver sermons in Malay or in the Malay language articles section of the 28-pages newspaper.
Editor Father Lawrence Andrew told AFP Friday that the paper would still press ahead with its lawsuit filed last month to challenge the state order banning it from using the world Allah.
"We will not withdraw the lawsuit," he said.
Andrew also said that the newspaper used the word Allah in its first issue for 2008 dated January 6.
Abdullah Mohammad Zain, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said the Cabinet at its meetings of October 18 and November 1, 2007 decided that the word Allah could only be sued by Muslims to avoid confusion.
Abdullah said non-Muslims should use the word God (`Tuhan' in Malay) instead, although the word Allah has been used in the Malay-language Bible for centuries.
"The use of the word Allah by other religions may arouse sensitivity and create confusion among Muslims," he was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper Friday.
The Herald, a tabloid-sized newspaper, is circulated among the country's 850,000 Catholics with articles written in English, Chinese,Tamil and Malay.

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