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.
“Ninth Church Vandalized in Malaysia as Tensions Rise,” by Seth Mydans for the New York Times, January 11 (thanks to James):
BANGKOK — A ninth church was vandalized Monday in Malaysia in a series of arson attacks that have raised religious tensions surrounding a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians in this mostly Muslim nation.
“Allah” is the common term for God in Malay-language Bibles, but the government and many Muslim groups insist that the word should be reserved for use in Islam.
The attacks, which began on Friday, came after a court ruling on Dec. 31 that overturned a government ban on the use of “Allah” by Christians. That ruling has been stayed while the government appeals.
Only one of the churches has been seriously damaged, and some of the attacks were minor. In Monday’s attack, the Sidang Injil Borneo Church in the central state of Negeri Sembilan was slightly damaged when its door was burned, according to local reports.
Government officials condemned the violence Monday but defended their position, saying conditions are different in Malaysia from those in neighboring Indonesia or in Arab nations where “Allah” is the common term for God….