Malaysia’s “Allah” row spills over into Facebook

January 4, 2010
allah herald

The word "Allah" in a Malay-language Catholic newspaper, 29 Dec 2009/Bazuki Muhammad

More than 43,000 Malaysians have protested online over a court ruling allowing a Malay-language Catholic paper to use the word “Allah” for “God,” signaling growing Islamic anger in this mostly Muslim Southeast Asian country.

A group page on social networking site Facebook was drawing 1,500 new supporters an hour on Monday as last week’s court ruling split political parties and even families.  Among those who signed up for the protest were Deputy Trade Minister Mukhriz Mahathir, the son of Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed, while Mahathir’s daughter Marina called critics of the court decision “idiots” in her blog.

The government said on Monday it had filed an appeal against the court ruling amid concerns the issue could cause religious and racial conflict in this country of 28 million which has large Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities.

The Facebook page, named in Malay as “Protesting the use of the name Allah by non-Muslims”, said that the group was for Muslims “who realise that this is propaganda to confuse Muslims now and in future.”

The Catholic Church, which publishes a Malay version of its newspaper, The Herald, says that it uses the word “Allah” — the normal word for God in the Malay language — to meet the needs of Malay-speaking Catholics on the island of Borneo.  “There should not be a cause for concern because some people have got the idea that we are out to convert (Muslims), but not at all, there is no question of this,” Father Lawrence Andrew, the newspaper’s editor, told Reuters.

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People will always have their differences, let’s just hope that violence is not incited, as it traditionally has, when it comes to religious issues.

Posted by liquidnerve | Report as abusive

this is so pathehtic. in this day and age when religious conflicts have led to terrorist attacks, invasions, illegal occupations, and wars, we are now fighting over what words should be used to refer to god. how sad. both sides should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by sidrock23 | Report as abusive

The word Allah comes for a pre-Islamic period and it literally means god. It was a term reserved for the “top or alpha god” and Allah was worshiped in the Kabah at Mecca before prophet Muhammad (PBUH)was born. The opening line of the holy quran also mentions that “there is no god worthy of worship than Allah and Mohammad is his messenger”. The Quran merely uses the term Allah as the “Meccans” (inhabitants of Mecca) and local Arabic tribes were already familiar with.
its with the passage of time that this word has been wrongly interpreted as a word exclusively for Islamic or Muslim god.

Posted by poptate | Report as abusive

The reason Muslims are so concerned about the use of word Allah for God is that Muslims don’t want anyone to be called as son of Allah (na’ozobillah) or daughter of Allah (na’ozobillah) or even anyone sharing any of His powers whatsoever.

I hope my point is clear, if anyone wants to use this greatest word Allah, then they MUST adhere to the respect this name deserves. He is One, most powerful and the most merciful.

Posted by xarrar | Report as abusive