An update on this story. The fact remains that such distribution is ultimately at the mercy of Malaysian authorities’ whims, and these Bibles were deemed suitable only because they were stamped with a message proclaiming them for Christian use only.
Qur’an 29:46 does say “Our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender,” but it is a talking point for Islamic proselytizing, and a one-way line of discourse, in a manner in which a non-Muslim would be prohibited from preaching to a Muslim under Islamic law. “Malaysia releases Malay-language Bibles impounded for using ‘Allah’,” from Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 15 (thanks to Twostellas):
Kuala Lumpur -Bowing to pressure, the Malaysian government said Tuesday it would release 35,000 Malay-language Christian Bibles which refer to God as ‘Allah.’
Customs impounded the books as the government of mainly-Muslim Malaysia has insisted the word should be used exclusively in the context of Islam.
That would force non-Muslims to use another name, setting up a Catch-22 whereby Muslims could say, “See? They don’t worship Allah!”
The release was in line with a 1982 regulation which allows ‘limited and controlled importation and circulation’ of Malay-language Bibles which must be stamped ‘For Christian Only,’ explained Idris Jala, a minister of the Prime Minister’s Department.
‘This is a reasonable compromise in managing the polarities of views between Christians and Muslims in the country,’ he said in a statement
Christian groups said at least 35,000 Bibles imported from Indonesia are being held by customs. Some 5,000 have been impounded since March 2009.
Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein claimed they were held due to the pending court case over the use of the word ‘Allah.’
The government is appealing against a High Court decision from December, 2009 which allowed the Malaysian Roman Catholic Church to use the word ‘Allah’ in its newsletter, the Herald.
Insulting Muslims’ intelligence for the sake of sticking it to the kuffar:
The government has requested that Christians be banned from using the word, for fear it might ‘confuse’ the Muslims who make up over 60 percent of the country’s 28 million population. Proselytizing is illegal in Malaysia.
However, the Bibles’ importer, the Bible Society of Malaysia, said it has letters from the government approving the release of the consignment but still the authorities refused to release them.
It is estimated that there are over 2.5 million Christians in Malaysia. Some 85 percent of them reside in Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo island, where majority of them use the Malay language during church services.
A 400-year-old Malay-Latin dictionary shows how long the usage of “Allah” has been common.
The 2009 High Court set off a firestorm. Angry Muslims attacked at least eight churches with petrol bombs and defaced one with paint.
The confiscation of the Bibles has added further added tension to the fragile races relation [sic] in this multi-ethnic country.
The Malaysian constitution defines Malays as Muslims, but nonetheless, neither Christianity nor Islam is a race, and the conflict is clearly about religion.
Last Thursday, the Christian Federation of Malaysia rebuked the government saying Christians are ‘greatly disillusioned, fed up and angered’ over the repeated detention of Malay-language Bibles.
‘The freedom of religion guaranteed as part of the fundamental liberties under our Federal Constitution is rendered meaningless if adherents to a religion are denied access to their religious texts in a language that they can understand,’ CFM chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing said in a statement.
There have been other instances where Bibles and also other religious materials such as CDs and books have been impounded for the same reason, resulting in several legal suits taken out by Christian groups against the government….