In addition to the four already reported. This is why the Malaysian government had to appeal to Muslims not to boil with rage over a court decision allowing a Catholic weekly to use the word “Allah.” The decision is suspended, pending appeal, but in any event, the government’s call for restraint turned out to be quite necessary in the interest of damage control — both figuratively and literally.
It has not been at all successful in the latter sense. “4 more churches attacked in Malaysia in Allah feud,” by Eileen Ng for the Associated Press, January 10:
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Firebombs were thrown at three more churches in Malaysia on Sunday and another was splashed with black paint, the latest in a series of assaults on Christian houses of worship following a court decision allowing non-Muslims to use “Allah” to refer to God.
Despite the attacks, thousands of Christians nationwide attended Sunday services and prayed for national unity and an end to the violence.
The unprecedented attacks have set off a wave of disquiet among Malaysia’s minority Christians and strained their ties with the majority Malay Muslims. About 9 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people are Christian, most of whom are ethnic Chinese or Indian. Muslims make up 60 percent of the population and most of them are ethnic Malays.
Religious minorities have often complained about what they say is institutionalized religious discrimination here.
On Sunday, a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the All Saints Church in Taiping town in central Perak state early in the morning before it opened, said state police chief Zulkifli Abdullah. He told The Associated Press police found burn marks on the wall but there was no damage to the building.
A broken kerosene bottle with an unlit wick was found early Sunday inside the compound of the St. Louis Catholic church, also in Taiping, said the Rev. David Lourdes. He said it appeared to be a failed attack.
In southern Malacca state, the outer wall of the Malacca Baptist Church was splashed with black paint, police said.
Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said a church in Miri town in eastern Sarawak state on Borneo island also reported an arson attempt.
“The situation is under control and the people should not be worried,” he was quoted as saying by the national Bernama news agency. An aide confirmed his comments but couldn’t give further details.
Four churches were hit by gasoline bombs on Friday and Saturday. No one was hurt and all suffered little damage, except the Metro Tabernacle Church. Parishioners there moved services after fire gutted the first floor. The other churches held regular services Sunday.
The dispute is over a Dec. 31 High Court decision that overturned a government order banning non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” in their prayers and literature. The court was ruling on a petition by Malaysia’s Roman Catholic Church, whose main publication, the Herald, uses the word Allah in its Malay-language edition. The government has appealed the verdict….