The Wall Street Journal is reporting the decision of Malaysia’s high court in which the court says that the use of the word “Allah” is for Muslims only. Below is an excerpt from the news report:
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia-Malaysia’s top court on Monday dismissed the Roman Catholic Church’s request that it be allowed to appeal a ruling barring it from using “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in its newspaper.
The high-stakes case, which dates back seven years, has provoked strong feelings in the Muslim-majority country at a time when advocates of conservative Islam have been growing in influence.
The Catholic Church first brought a case in 2008 to try to overturn a determination by Malaysia’s then-home minister, Syed Hamid Albar, the year before that prohibited the Herald newspaper from using the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God and argued it should be used solely by Muslims.
The minority Christian population had hoped that a win in the case would strengthen religious tolerance in a nation where Islam is the state religion.
An initial ruling in favor of the church in 2009 sparked mob vandalism and arson at both Christian and Muslim places of worship.
Last October, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s ruling which said the Church had the constitutional right to use Allah. It ruled that the use of the word ‘Allah’ wasn’t an integral part of the Christian faith and therefore overturned the lower court ruling which said the Herald had the constitutional right to use the word Allah.
A three-member judicial panel concluded, “It is our common finding that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ isn’t an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.”
This decision by Malaysia’s high court proves what most people believe: that the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are not the same God.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary