The Herald: Defied A Ban Until The Courts Rule

Posted: January 20, 2009 in Life, Malaysia
Tags: , ,
Catholic paper defies Malaysian government ban on using the word 'Allah'

Catholic paper defies Malaysian government ban on using the word 'Allah'

A Catholic newspaper in Malaysia has defied a ban on using the word ‘Allah’ as a translation for ‘God’, in a row with the government which has threatened to close the weekly publication.

The editor of the Herald newspaper, Father Lawrence Andrew, said this week’s edition uses the banned word and that he intends to continue doing so until the courts rule on the issue next month.

‘We find this restriction on the use of ‘Allah’ unacceptable when we have been using it as a translation for ‘God’ for centuries in Malaysia,’ he told AFP.

Authorities have said the word should only be used by Muslims.

The government last month ordered a ban on the Herald’s Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue printing its editions in English, Chinese and Tamil.

But after the newspaper warned it would take legal action to overturn the ban, the home ministry backed down and said it could continue publishing as long as it did not use the disputed translation.

‘Munshi Abdullah, the father of modern Malay literature, translated the Bible into Malay in 1852 and he also translated ‘God’ as ‘Allah’ so there is strong historical proof of what we have been using for centuries,’ said Andrew.

The Herald, circulated among the country’s 850,000 Catholics, nearly lost its publishing licence last year for using the disputed word.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in Malaysia where 60 percent of the nation’s 27 million people are Muslim Malays.

The rest of the population takes in indigenous tribes as well as ethnic Chinese and Indians, variously practising Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism among others.

P/S: COME ON PEOPLE, we’re human beings who are capable of ‘adopting’ to our surroundings. There’s a Malay saying ‘lain padang, lain belalang’. It means that every place  or country for that matter has its own ways laws and please, when the country is peaceful enough don’t try ruining it by questioning your rights -as your not ‘originally’ from the country itself- have some shame on yourself. Treat others with respect and they will do the same to you.

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