The Stream

Malaysia’s ‘Allah’ controversy

Is limiting the use of the Arabic word for God a sign of growing intolerance towards minorities?

Malaysian Muslims hold placards during a protest againts the introduction of a Malay language bible that uses the word Allah to translate god, at the national mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15 April 2011. (EPA/SHAMSHAHRIN SHAMSUDIN)

Should the word ‘Allah’ be exclusive to Muslims? In Malaysia, Islamic authorities recently seized 321 Bibles from a Christian group who’s been using the Arabic word to refer to God. The raid reinforced a Malaysian court ruling last year which concluded that the word should only be used by Muslims. However, beyond who is allowed to use ‘Allah’ when referring to God and who isn’t, many say there is a growing intolerance towards Malaysia’s ethnic and religious minorities. We discuss at 19:30GMT.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to: 
Kean Wong @keanmwong
Hermen Shastri 
General Secretary, Council of Churches of Malaysia
Irwan Fahmi Ideris @IrwanFahmiid
Youth Chief, Perkasa Malaysia
Saifuddin Abdullah @saifuddinabd
Member, United Malays National Organisation
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