Jesus, Son of Allah

“Allah” is the Arabic word for “God” and we typically hear it used when referring to Islam.

In Malaysia, though, the word isn’t limited to Muslims:

The Arab word Allah has been used by Malay-speaking Christians for centuries, much as it is used by Christians in Arabic-speaking countries or in Indonesia, where, like Malaysia, the concept of a single God was introduced by Arabic-speaking traders. Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, says there’s no other appropriate term for God in Malay.

That means it’s not out-of-the-ordinary to say “Jesus Christ was the son of Allah.”

And that’s pissing off Muslims who want the word to be restricted for their use only.

A judge recently ruled that Roman Catholics in Malaysia could use the term Allah, but the government is challenging the ruling.

The New Year’s Eve ruling penned by Judge Lau Bee Lian was one of the few times that a secular institution has intervened to block the advance of an increasingly political interpretation of Islam in Malaysia. She ruled that under Malaysian law, Christians have “a constitutional right to use [the word] Allah.”

… The National Union of Malaysian Muslim students urged the government to take the case to the Appeals Court, arguing that Christian missionaries using the word Allah could trick Muslims into leaving their faith, and the influential Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement is planning a large demonstration against the verdict in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Muslims don’t have a monopoly on words. Or how others use them. Or how others interpret their faith or prophet. We can do whatever we want in those regards because we don’t buy into their silly-yet-oppressive belief system. It’s one of the perks of not being a Muslim.

The judge made the right call here, and it’s just fueling the violent/angry Muslim stereotype that they’re getting pissed off about this issue.

(Thanks to Donna for the link)

  • Edman

    Who would have thought that Islam needed branding guidelines?

  • muggle

    Damned straight.

    We need to keep getting decisions like this and the more they piss off these extremists, the better. Their anger looks more and more futile, unjustified and silly. They’re like children throwing a temper tantrum.

  • http://www.twitter.com/shocktwist Brittany

    They act like a bunch of five year olds. “That’s MY WORD for god! You can’t use it!” *Falls over and has a temper tantrum*

  • http://thereisnodoubtinit.posterous.com/ doubtinit

    Basically, it’s politics. The Government is trying to drum up support from Muslims by adopting a “defender of the faith” stance. Nearly all comments from the party are against the ruling and in favour of shutting down the Herald altogether. The main Muslim political party in Malaysia on the other hand is in the Opposition and seems to be divided on the ruling but it looks like they are mostly in favour of it.

  • pinksponge

    The whole situation is just surreal. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians used the word “Allah” (a contraction of al-ilah, “The god”) for a long time before Muhammad came along, and they use it still to this day. As other posters above have said, it sounds like this is a childish temper tantrum on the part of some extremists who are PO’d because there are people who, despite believing in the same god, nevertheless — get this! the nerve of some people! — believe and practice differently than they. zomg oh noes!11!1!111! They need to suck it up and get over it, just like anyone else over four years old.

  • bigjohn756

    Is there anything that doesn’t piss off the Muslims?

  • Trace

    I hope that judge has a panic room.

  • Gabriel G.

    Silly Muslims, words are for everyone.

  • Brian Macker

    Islam is the ultimate religion of the double standard. They claim that Allah is, in fact, the same god as the Christian and Jewish god, in order to gain acceptance of Islam. With the other half of their forked tongues they rail against Christians and Jews calling their deity “god” in the native language. I thought it was the same deity you hypocrites.

  • Staceyjw

    What a shocker, muslims getting all pissed about something minor……….

  • http://asad123.wordpress.com Asad

    The judge probably made the right call here, but there are two sides to this issue. Muslims do have a legitimate interest in how the word “Allah” is used. People shouldn’t co-opt the terminology of other faiths merely to deceive people. Would you like it if a radical Christian cult decided to call themselves “the Church of Scientific Atheism?”
    Of course Muslims shouldn’t approach this through legal action, but through dialogue. They should tell people they believe Allah has no father or son, despite what Christians say.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    People shouldn’t co-opt the terminology of other faiths merely to deceive people.

    Well, people shouldn’t deceive people at all… but Islam (and every other faith) has no problem with that. They perpetuate the idea that praying a certain way, a certain number of times a day, has some relevance. It doesn’t.

    Plus, Allah means God in Arabic, no? Then, there’s no co-opting.

  • Brian Macker

    Asad,
    “Muslims do have a legitimate interest in how the word “Allah” is used. “

    They have an interest but it isn’t legitimate. The interest is to maintain their monoply of falsehood.

    No one co-opted the terminology the word “allah” means god. So what if they did coopt it? That’s not a crime either, otherwise we’d have to outlaw Islam. Islam is the ultimate co-opting religion, and they don’t just stop at stealing terms (which they do), they steal bibilcal stories and warp them, and entire temples, shrines, and countries.

    “Would you like it if a radical Christian cult decided to call themselves “the Church of Scientific Atheism?”

    I wouldn’t give a crap, and certainly wouldn’t try to get a law passed. In fact it’s already happened at least twice with the Church of Scientology, and the Christian Scientists. Neither of which have anything to do with science.

    The solution to the problem is to let everyone tell it like it is. There are plenty of writers who have truthfully pointed out the neither is based on science. That’s a solution Muslims can’t live with because their religion is a falsehood.

  • J B Tait

    If the Christians can own the word “marriage” then isn’t it only fair for another religion to take a word away from them?

    We need to demand ownership of a word, too.
    [/me goes away to think of one worth having.]

  • Carlie

    We need to demand ownership of a word, too.
    [/me goes away to think of one worth having.]

    We already have a few:

    Rationality
    Reason
    Critical thinking
    Reality

  • Epistaxis

    If it were America, they could just sue for trademark infringement.

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    More mindlessness,soon to lead to violence, from the Religion of Peace.

    is it any wonder while they represent 20% of the population of the planet, the number of Nobel prizes Muslims have been awarded is but a handful, <0.5%; while Jews, who's population is 0.2% of the Earth's population have been awarded approx 20% of all Nobel prizes

    Maybe if islam focused more on education and advancement of civilization, like it did 600 years ago, and less on their superstition, mindless antagonism and violent bent, they'd win the respect they demand at gun point. And then Muslims wouldn't be the most impoverished uneducated people on the planet.

  • Brian Macker

    “If the Christians can own the word “marriage” then isn’t it only fair for another religion to take a word away from them?”

    That’s more than a little unfair. The definition of marriage as used in the law was established by prior common usage. The law was passed based on the meaning at the time. You can’t just change the meaning of the word to say, a human fucking a goat, and then claim legal protection for the activity.

    If one wanted to legalize something like that you’d need to change the law. You can either add a qualifier like, goat marriage, (which you define in the law if it isn’t in common usage) then pass the new law.

    Marriage was never understood to mean between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or a goat and a man, at the time these laws were passed.

    The Christians in no way are claiming ownership of the word. They are making claims about what the term means in existing law.

  • http://twitter.com/achura Rooker

    Christian missionaries using the word Allah could trick Muslims into leaving their faith

    Islam must not be a very strong faith if someone can be “tricked” out of it by a simple play on words. I guess that’s why apostasy is punishable by death in Iran and some other (Islamic) places. It needs the reinforcement. /sarcasm

    If I were a Muslim, I’d be mad as hell that some douchebag is arguing in court that I’m too stupid to tell the difference here.

  • Erp

    Oddly some American evangelicals trying to work in Iraq and other Arabic speaking countries don’t want to use ‘Allah’ since they don’t think it means ‘God’.

  • http://www.Dead-Logic.com Bud

    “Allah” is Arabic for “god.” Bibles (as in, Christian Bibles) that are translated into Arabic use the word “allah” for “god,” because that’s what the word means.

  • http://www.danielfranklingomez.com Gallivanter

    It only highlights how weak the muslims in Malaysia are with regards to their faith. Sigh.

  • barbarag

    How friendly is it to speak of muslims in Vast Sweeping Generalizations? Or, for that matter, to speak of most groups, including atheists, christians, math teachers, women, gays, tall people, lesbians, straight people, men, jains, short people, jews, african-americans, white males, etc., etc., etc. in Vast Sweeping Generalizations? How friendly, and how rational?

  • Jeff B

    I would post my last name on here as I bitch and moan about muslims and x-tians; but like Trace said, I do not have a panic room.

    Did anyone see when the news stories talked about the danish cartoonist attack, none of them actually had the balls to show the cartoon. Some just showed the bomb, but (god) forbid…not the “prophet”

    That being said, at least we can make fun of x-tianity without being assassinated….those fucking pricks

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    barbarag said:

    How friendly is it to speak of muslims in Vast Sweeping Generalizations?

    Yes, I understand exactly what you mean. Afterall, muslims have been the source of copious amounts of friendly outreach over the past, oh, fifty years.

    And here, us impudent and unfriendly and irrational infidels, just slap their out stretched hand of friendship, as though we had some cause for fear, or distain.

    I’ll tell you what is irrational, your denial that Islam is the greatest threat to the planet’s survival. Likely that denial is a result of terminal political correctness, head in the sand non-thinking, or your devotion to the Quran.

    When gays, atheists, women, tall guys, et al as an identifiable group start to generate the vast majority of the terrorist attacks on civilians across the face of the globe, and threaten nation’s and people’s lives and liberties as a matter of course I’ll dispise them as well.

    Until then, only Islam qualifies for the level of disgust I hold for it. So take your sanctimoneous horseshit and shove it up your holier than thou colon.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Lets see. Allah boned Mary while she was sleeping and begat Jesus.
    Allah then forsakes Jesus while on the cross and later adopted Mohammad as his favorite “son” and prophet. Now Allah gives out little white raisins to any and everyone who kills infidels in the great struggle against anyone who believes the wrong stuff. Or was it that the forsaken Jesus gives eternal life (and casts all others in hell) to those that accept him and believe the right stuff. I’m confused.

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    Here are some “vast sweeping generalizations” about Islam of which I for one am guilty:

    - Muslims are responsible for the vast majority of terrorist attacks and deaths on the planet & have been for decades.
    - Their doctrine calls for the spread of Islam through militarism.
    - They kill apostates.
    - They threaten to kill people who exercise their right of free speech, inside or outside of Islamic nations.
    - They immigrate to western nations and expect THEIR culture to be recognized as separate and distinct; expect their customs to be held as sacrosanct and sharia law to be honored.
    - Their doctrine plainly and simply rejects friendship with Jews and Christians (“people of the book”). Atheists & homosexuals do not rate as worthy of life.
    - They are the only major religious group from which native born or naturalized citizens of western countries have committed or attempted to committ acts of terrorism or war against their own / adopted country in the name of their religion (i.e. UK, US, Netherlands, Bali, etc., etc., etc.).

    Are these “vast sweeping generalizations” with no basis in fact?
    Should we over look them and pretend they do not exist?
    Are they simply bigoted inventions of an Islamophobe?

    And, is one really Islamophobic if in fact Islam is trying to kill you. My son was in WTT II on 9/11, ask him about it.

  • james

    Malaysian atheist here,

    Malaysia is unique among Muslim countries in that an entire race of people – the ethnic Malays – is constitutionally required to be Muslims. We have inseparably tied a majority of the population to the faith and while apostasy does not actually earn you a death sentence, they can hold an apostate pretty much indefinitely in a “correctional” facility until said apostate returns to the path of the righteous and the blessed.

    Also unique to Malaysia is that this race of people is also constitutionally privileged in terms of economic opportunities, education and welfare. As a result, the Malays became indolent and… well, Rudyard Kipling said it best in one of his Just So Stories. He referred to the Malays as the “Malazy” people.

    So protected from direct competition with the minority races, namely the Chinese and the Indians, there isn’t much call for the entire race to be very smart or to develop much ability to think critically – the perfect beast of a majority for politicians to rabble-rouse. This Allah controversy is almost certainly politically motivated. As was the fatwa against the practice of yoga. And the protest against Avril Lavigne touring here for fear of western culture leading good Muslim youth off the straight and narrow (though arguably, Avril Lavigne not performing here is a good thing and I fully support a fatwa against her awful music).

    Now to be fair, aside from the occasional threat of ethnic cleansing from Malay – and therefore Muslim – politicians, the Malay race in general are really nice people and wonderfully tolerant of other people’s beliefs. It’s the politicians you have to watch out for.

  • http://rmacapobre.blogspot.com max

    all those terrorists in the 9/11 attack were moslem – not a generalization ..

  • Raskolnikov

    Hmmm… I love penne allah’matriciana. :p

  • james

    all those terrorists in the 9/11 attack were moslem – not a generalization ..

    wow. just wow.

    Are these “vast sweeping generalizations” with no basis in fact?

    Having basis in facts doesn’t make it fair. My country condemned such atrocious acts and supported the US’ fight against terrorism. None of my Muslim friends want to blow themselves up for their god and certainly none of them harbour any kind of hate towards anyone else’s faith (or lack of it, as the case may be). Believe it or not, the vast majority of Muslims are moderate.

  • Ali

    Every single terrorist attack in Northern Ireland was carried out by Christians.

    What does this mean? Well not that much really. You can’t say because most terrorist currently happen to be Muslim (I’m not sure what data is being used for these assertions) then most Muslims are terrorists.

    I get really dismayed when I read about student groups supporting this religious tosh, they’re at university to learn how to think not sacrifice their minds to this idiocy.

  • keddaw

    The judge is a SHE????

    Allah will not be pleased…

    Or God for that matter.

    I, however, am ecstatic that all people who are willing and able to be judges CAn be judges.

  • quesmind

    Dear All,

    This is time of trouble in Malaysia.

    The catholic have the option of using the word “Tuhan” as God in Malay, but deliberately choose “Allah” for malay translation.

    Reaction among muslims are divided, christians are confused. Some are out to exploit it politically.

    The question now is who is the real god in christianity, which is the correct translation. Are they repenting that christian God are indeed Allah? Or indeed there was mistranslation?

    The muslim are working to defend the good name of their god from it being abused in various forms. That include from it being tattooed, printed in football to be kicked around, being spoken in the scripture, rites and ritual in other faiths, misrepresented in various forms and etc. That is their religious duty.

    It had been a long issue, and now it is being formalized. You can follow that on facebook group(http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=227724322514&start=50&hash=6076985e33cf726df1a45f4af7a7c010#/group.php?gid=227724322514 ). Translation of the group name is “Against usage of the name Allah by non-muslims”. The number stands at over 50,000 people and growing. The group is civil and seeking diplomatic means to defend their faith. There is chance the group will be a global movement and would span beyond it’s original purpose.

    Let just hope it is all would end up for the good.

  • JimboB

    In the Spanish speaking community, many people (including present day Christians) use the word ojalá, which literally means “Allah-willing” though commonly meant to mean “I hope so” or “if only”. It was adopted into the vernacular some time ago — you can thank the Moors in Spain for that.

    Are Muslims in Malaysia really going to try and retroactively omit the word ojalá from every Spanish speaking country in the world? Good luck guys…

  • Edmond

    How do these countries even function, when they’ve got their courts deciding who can use which words? Do they print their dictionaries with notations on who can use certain words? This is asinine, primitive, backwards behavior. Goes well with religion.

  • james

    The catholic have the option of using the word “Tuhan” as God in Malay, but deliberately choose “Allah” for malay translation.

    Reaction among muslims are divided, christians are confused. Some are out to exploit it politically.

    The question now is who is the real god in christianity, which is the correct translation. Are they repenting that christian God are indeed Allah? Or indeed there was mistranslation?

    I think the only people who are confused are extremely stupid people like you and your ilk. Tuhan, Allah… they all mean the same thing, only in different languages. In fact, if anyone should make any noise about this, it’s people who actually use Arabic in their daily speech, not Malays (and believe me, there are Christians in the Middle East that uses the word Allah as well and have used it centuries before Muhammad SWT was born).

    How do these countries even function, when they’ve got their courts deciding who can use which words?

    We manage. This is one isolated court incident over a retarded issue brought forth by very retarded people – and hopefully, we’ll not see another.

  • CybrgnX

    1st–I like your top edge lettering of the name…nice.

    GOD is NOT g0d’s name, its a job title, NO one knows g0d’s name as it don’t exist so no one can ask. ALLAH is the islamic word that means g0d, so it AIN’T god’s name its a job title. So lets get over it.

    3rd- islam will get what it wants because it can. If just the idea of islamic violence can scare a publisher to fuss out a cartoon here, just think what they can do over there where they do have real power.

  • Brian Macker

    Quesmind,

    “The muslim are working to defend the good name of their god from it being abused in various forms. That include from it being tattooed, printed in football to be kicked around, being spoken in the scripture, rites and ritual in other faiths, misrepresented in various forms and etc. That is their religious duty.”

    I see this all the time talking with Muslims, even the “moderate” ones. You just don’t realize how crazy you sound because it is the norm with you. Wow, and there are 50,000 of you on that facebook group supporting the same insane thinking.

    Is your deity so pitiful that he can’t handle the word god printed on a football? I couldn’t care less if someone put the word ‘man’ on a football and kicked it around, even though I am a ‘man’ not an ‘allah’. Hell, you can even put my given name on a football and kick it around. Go ahead. Do it as an insult. Print my name on the bottom of your shoe.

    Apparently I have more self esteem in my little finger than your Allah, since he needs unthinking followers to police for the most minor of potential insults.

    Fuck your Allah. He’s a pussy if he can’t do his own fighting. You conceive of your god as a coward, and insecure prima donna.

  • http://thereisnodoubtinit.posterous.com/ doubtinit

    Religion aside, my main objection in the matter is that the Government is poking its nose in an area where it has no business at all: Language. Nothing is impossible in the land of Malaysia Boleh.

  • Twin-Skies

    I think the solution is clear – why not copyright the word “Allah”?

    They get to keep all legal rights to how the word should be used, and they get to make a killing in royalties!

    Killing, as in monetary gain – not the other sort of killing their crazier constituents have been doing.

  • http://www.myspace.com/armandtanzarian Armandtanzarian

    Perhaps some clarification to our non-Malaysian friends.

    Most of the people bitching are akin to the religious right of America. Most Malaysians are keen to seek the middle ground on this although we’re frankly very disappointed that the government is now appealing the decision. But hey, that’s what elections are for right?

    Anyway the demonstration will be held after Friday prayers, so it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of signs they hold up then.

  • Anonymouse

    Muslim Intellectual Property Rights Must be respected!

    If people are deceived into joining Malaysian Christianity instead of Islam, there would be economic costs for the Imams.

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    Muslim Intellectual Property Rights

    Muslim Intellectual is an oxymoron.
    Muslims stopped being intellectual in the early 16th century.

  • A Mile of Bad Road

    I’m not sure what’s worst in these comments – the bigotry, the lies, the pearl-clutching, the hateful attitudes…

    And you allow this?


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