Church urges calm ahead of KL court ruling on 'Allah' usage

Church urges calm ahead of KL court ruling on 'Allah' usage

KUALA LUMPUR - The Catholic Church has called on all parties to respect the judicial process, and also urged the government to take steps to prevent "untoward incidents" ahead of a Court of Appeal ruling on Thursday on the church's use of the word "Allah".

The Church's newspaper in Malaysia, the Herald, has applied for a ban on using "Allah" as a Malay-language translation for God to be overturned.

Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said he had told Catholics who offered to turn up in court to give support to "stay back where you are and pray".

"This was about the weekly using the word 'Allah', it is not about Allah per se, but it has snowballed into something else now. We want politics out of this," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Malay rights group Perkasa has called on Muslims to join it in great numbers at Putrajaya in support of the government's ban on the Herald's use of the word, the Malaysian Insider said.

The "Allah" controversy has exacerbated religious tension in Malaysia over the years.

Most Christians in Malaysia, who make up 10 per cent of the population, live in Sabah and Sarawak. They read the Bible in Malay and it sometimes uses the word "Allah" to describe God.

However, Muslims in Malaysia say such usage insults Islam.

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