Court decides: who may use God’s name?

By December 28, 2009

Malaysia (MNN) — Malaysia’s high court is set to decide a case on whether Christians
may use the Malay name for God: “Allah.”

According to  Logan Maurer with International Christian Concern, a decision
to prohibit Christians from using the word that Muslims also use would violate a “basic
human right” to freely use whatever name for God one chooses.

“Basically, Muslims are putting down a very strict line saying, ‘You cannot cross this. Christians, you cannot use this word.’ And I think this is the first step toward
real persecution that we haven’t seen in Malaysia,” Maurer explained.

Although the Malay Bible uses other names for God in addition to the name in question,
Maurer said the Christians would probably continue to use that name as well as
the other names they currently use for God.

“My bet is that the word would stay the same,” he said. “It would just have to go underground, and that’s where you find persecution heading in Malaysia… If this is ruled that only Muslims can use the word for God, then you’re going to find Christians still referring to God, but just illegally doing so.”

The issue has already created problems for Malaysian Christians, who live in a predominantly Muslim society.

Just recently, there was a case of 1,500 Bibles being taken by the government because the word ‘Allah’ was written in them; they’re still being held by the government,” Maurer said. “They’re not being released until this case is ruled on.”

The high court is dominated by Muslims, but the international press is following the story and will likely put pressure on the court. If the court decides against the Christians, Maurer said it will set a precedent making Christians second-class citizens. Pray that the court will allow Malaysian Christians to speak freely and share with others the God they worship.

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