Allah is the Arabic word for God and commonly used in the Malay language to refer to God. The court had ruled that Catholic Church had no grounds to appeal a lower court decision last year that kept it from using "Allah" in its Malay-language weekly publication.
The government says Allah should be reserved exclusively for Muslims -- who make up nearly two-thirds of the country's 29 million people -- because if other religions use it that could confuse Muslims and lead them to convert.
Christian representatives deny this, arguing that the ban is unreasonable because Christians who speak the Malay language have long used the word in their Bibles, prayers and songs before authorities sought to enforce the curb in recent years. Christians make up about 9 per cent of the population, with many living in the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island.
The ban appears to apply mostly to published materials, not spoken words, and newspapers using the term would lose their license. Imported Malay-language Bibles containing the term Allah, typically from Indonesia, already have been blocked. Beyond that, it wasn't clear what the punishment would be for violating the ban.
Human Rights Watch said it reflected dwindling religious tolerance in Malaysia.Several questions arise here:
1) How dumb are Malaysian Muslims? So dumb that they would be "confused" by non-Muslims using the word "Allah" such that it would induce them to convert to another religion?
2) Why, as a non-Muslim, would you want to use "Allah" for God?
3) How would we ever cope were Human Rights Watch not around to point out the glaringly obvious?
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