Arabic-speaking Christians have been using the word “Allah” for God from time immemorial, and these Malay Christians, influenced by this in their non-Arab but Muslim society, have been doing so for decades. The whole idea of making this an issue at all was just another expression of Islamic supremacism. Or maybe an excuse to firebomb churches.
“Fourth church attacked in Malaysia as Allah row deepens,” by Niluksi Koswanage for Reuters, January 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Arsonists in Malaysia struck a fourth church on Saturday as the government tried to soothe tensions arising from a row over the use of the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God.
The unprecedented attacks risk dividing the mainly Muslim nation of 28 million people, which has significant religious minorities, and complicating Prime Minister Najib Razak’s plan to win back support from the non-Muslims before the next elections by 2013.
The row, over a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use Allah in its Malay-language editions, prompted Muslims to protest at mosques on Friday and sparked arson attacks on three churches that saw one Pentecostalist church gutted.
While Najib visited the badly damaged Pentecostalist church and offered a government grant of half a million ringgit ($148,100) to maintain “a harmonious society,” church leaders said they wanted more concrete assurances of safety.
“We ask the government to make a strong statement to these wrongdoers so we can worship in peace on Sunday,” Reverend Hermen Shastri, secretary-general to the Council of Churches Malaysia, told Reuters….