(CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR) — In the latest round of a divisive political and religious saga, a Malaysian court ruled Monday that the word “Allah” can only be used by the country's Muslim majority, overturning a previous decision that allowed other faiths using the term to denote “God” in their local-language services and scriptures.
This morning Malaysia's Court of Appeals issued an expansive ruling that sparked surprise and anger throughout the country. At the court in Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya, Justice Mohamed Apandi read a brief summary of the 100+ page judgment. "Our common finding is that the usage of Allah is not an integral part of the Christian faith. We cannot find why the parties are so adamant on the usage of the word," he said.
"Allah" has been used in Christian worship among Malay speakers for centuries, much as it's used by Arab-speaking Christians and Christians in Indonesia, where the national language is a close cousin of Malaysian, without any controversy. The word passed into local languages over six centuries ago, as Arab traders plied Southeast Asia's seas.
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