Malaysia, which is 61% Muslim by population, has just ruled that non-Muslims may not use the word “Allah” to speak of any other god besides the god of Islam.
Westerners might think this is odd, but in many countries the word for Allah and the generic word god (small-g) use the same word.
Imagine if a Christian nation, for example, demanded that no other religion refer to their deity by the title “god” because Christians owned that term.
How would that impact all other sects and religions? They couldn’t legally sell their religious materials, books, scriptures, devotionals or inspirational writing. Anything with that word written on it would be illegal and contraband. Well, that’s the situation with Malaysia. Below are some excerpts from the BBC article I’m citing:
A Malaysian court has ruled that non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah to refer to God, even in their own faiths, overturning a 2009 lower court ruling.
The appeals court said the term Allah must be exclusive to Islam or it could cause public disorder.
People of all faiths use the word Allah in Malay to refer to their Gods.
Christians argue they have used the word, which entered Malay from Arabic, to refer to their God for centuries and that the ruling violates their rights.
However, some Muslim groups have said that the Christian use of the word Allah could be used to encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity.
[Think maybe that last sentence might be the real reason for the ruling?]
Follow the link, above for the whole story.