Priest facing prosecution for using “Allah” to refer to God

From Christian Post: 

A Roman Catholic priest and director of a diocesan newspaper in Malaysia is facing prosecution for using the word “Allah” to refer to God in his publication, something that is prohibited by law in the Muslim majority nation.

“The situation is quite serious. There is great concern in the Catholic Church because the story has taken a turn for the worse,” Friar Augustine Julian, a missionary of the Brothers of Christian Schools in Kuala Lumpur and former secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia shared with Agenzia Fides, the news agency of the Vatican.

“The investigation of the judiciary in course is a subtle form of pressure towards all Christians. There is strong concern in the community and tension with radical Islamic groups”

Fr. Lawrence Andrew, the priest in question, has reportedly received over 109 complaints for arguing in an article for The Herald that Catholics should be allowed to use the word “Allah” to refer to God, which they have done so in the local Malay language for over a century.

In October 2013, a Malaysian court banned the newspaper from using “Allah” to refer to God, with Chief Judge Mohamed Apandi arguing that the word is “not an integral part of the faith in Christianity” and that using it in such a fashion would cause confusion.

“I am not discouraged, but dismayed and disappointed that a judgment [could] be made in a manner where the usage of ‘Allah’ is allowed in the Malay-language Bible but for the weekly [publication] it is prevented,” Father Andrew said in response to the court’s decision.

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