PMs assured Christians of use of "Allah"
By Ding Jo-Ann
PETALING JAYA, 13 Jan 2010: Even though the government banned the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims in 1986, the churches refrained from court action for more than 20 years because of assurances from two prime ministers.
Council of Churches of Malaysia general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri told The Nut Graph that Christian leaders were assured that "Allah" could be used, as long as it was limited to within the Christian community. This was in spite of a 1986 government gazette and 1988 state enactments that declared the words "Allah", "solat", "ka'abah" and "Baitullah" as exclusive to Islam.
"(Former Prime Minister Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad's) position was if Christians use the word 'Allah' among ourselves, sell our bibles in Christian bookshops, and indicate it's a Christian publication, then that was fine," said Shastri.
"Mahathir and [Tun Abdullah Ahmad] Badawi both assured the Christian community that it would not be an issue [using 'Allah'] within our community."
Shastri said although they did not agree with the government gazette and state enactments, the church refrained from legal action in the interest of national harmony because Mahathir had said the issue was sensitive.
Shastri stressed that Christians did not use "Allah" to slight Muslims. Rather, "it's part and parcel of our spiritual and devotional life," he said.
Issue not new
Shastri also said it was unfair to describe the issue of Christians using "Allah" as new, as some have claimed.
Read the rest of the article HERE