COMMENTARY: Muslims don’t own the term ‘Allah’ in Malaysia or anywhere else

(RNS) If a Muslim reads a Catholic newspaper in the Malay language and sees the word “Allah,” he might mistake it as a reference to the Quran and become a Christian when he learns those are actually references to the Bible.

At least, that’s the reasoning Malaysian Muslim groups used when they pushed ​Malaysia’s​ Supreme Court to ban a Catholic newspaper from ​referring to God as “Allah.”

On Monday (June 23), Malaysia’s Supreme Court ​upheld a lower court ruling that found the term “Allah” belonged to Muslims. Now, the Catholic Church in Malaysia is no longer permitted to use the word “Allah” in its Malay-language newspapers, even though “Allah” has been used for centuries by all faiths in the area when referring to God.

As is precedent in countries with this type of oppressive behavior, ​the oppression will only increase. ​It is crucial to understand the true impact this unjust decision will have, and it is also important to understand the best solution to overcome this intolerance.​


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