Malaysian Government revokes ban on non-Muslims using the word Allah for God

December 31st, 2007 - 3:01 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 31 (ANI): Within a month of the Malaysian Government prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word Allah for God, the former has now renewed the publishing permit of a Catholic newspaper which used the word in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
The publishers of 13-year old Herald - The Catholic Weekly, received a hand delivered letter from an Internal Security Ministry representative containing the permit to print the paper.
“This letter places no restrictions, whatsoever and includes the permit for all the languages, including the Bahasa Malaysia segment, The Star quoted the editor of the newspaper, Father Lawrence Andrew, as saying.
The newspaper, that carries reports about the Catholic community in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil and Chinese, was earlier told by the Government to drop the use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia section, failing which its publishing permit would either be suspended or revoked.
This led the publisher to file a writ of summons and a statement of claim seeking appropriate declarations of the use of Allah at Kuala Lumpur High Court.
However, after receiving the permit letter, Father Andrew said that it did not specify anything, and added that it was the usual approval letter for printing permit.
“But with the letter, I’m certain that we can continue with the publication as well as the use of the word Allah,” he said.
He thanked the Government, especially Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, for this gesture of goodwill.
Meanwhile, Dompok termed it as a wonderful Christmas gift for the Catholic community of Malaysia and publisher of the weekly, which has a circulation of 12,000.
The ban had raised concerns of an emergence of hardline Muslim in the country, where politically dominant ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 per cent of the population, the rest being ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities that include Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians. (ANI)

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