Respect Muslim feelings, envoy told.

KUALA LUMPUR - Vatican City ambassador to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino has been asked to retract his support for the controversial use of the word "Allah" among Christians, as it can threaten unity among Malaysians.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said the statement by Marino should not be made by any quarters, out of respect to the sensitivities of Muslims in the country.

Marino had on Thursday expressed his support to the Christian Federation of Malaysia's stand to allow the use of the word "Allah" among Christians.

In 2009, the High Court ruled that the word was not the exclusive right of Muslims.

The Home Ministry had since appealed to reverse the decision.

"The religious tolerance in this country should be taken into account when issuing statements that could be interpreted as disrupting racial harmony in Malaysia," Jamil said in a statement yesterday.

Muslim affairs non-governmental organisation (NGO) Nassar Foundation chairman Nasharudin Mat Isa yesterday also urged Marino, who is the first ambassador of the Holy See to Malaysia, to retract his statement, as the issue of the use of the word "Allah" was of a sensitive nature.

"Muslim NGOs have demanded that the Foreign Affairs Ministry issue a warning to Marino, asking him to retract his statement.

"Marino should learn to understand the sensitivities of this nation and to not interfere with the internal affairs of this country."