Islamic Authorities Seize Bibles Because Christians Use the Word ‘Allah’

In Malaysia. Reuters:

Islamic authorities in Malaysia on Thursday seized 321 Bibles from a Christian group because they used the word Allah to refer to God, signaling growing intolerance that may inflame ethnic and religious tension in the Southeast Asian country.

The raid comes after a Malaysian court in October ruled that the Arabic word was exclusive to Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Malays, the largest ethnic group in the country alongside sizeable Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities.

That ruling overturned a court decision that allowed a Roman Catholic newspaper printed in Malay, the country’s national language, to use Allah.

The change has heightened concern that religious authorities, which issue rulings for Muslims and operate alongside civil courts, now have more legal muscle.

Analysts say new rulings that affect non-Muslims could be a way of deflecting anger against Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government from poor Malay Muslims over subsidy cuts likely to force up electricity, petrol and sugar prices.

On Thursday, the top Islamic authority in the richest and most populous state of Selangor seized the Malay-language Bibles from the Bible Society. The society said authority officials escorted two of its officials to a police station to make statements after which they were released on bail.

“We were told that we were under investigation for breaking a Selangor state law banning non-Muslims from using the word Allah,” said Bible Society of Malaysia Chairman Lee Min Choon.

The raid is a marked escalation from the occasional seizure at border checkpoints of Bibles imported from Indonesia. It was the first time Islamic authorities have entered premises belonging to a Christian organization to carry out a raid.

Christians from Malaysia’s rural states of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo, who have used the word Allah for centuries, have moved in droves to Selangor and other parts of peninsular Malaysia in recent years to look for work…

Rest here.


3 thoughts on “Islamic Authorities Seize Bibles Because Christians Use the Word ‘Allah’

  1. Surely Muslims can have it, the name of Allah for their god! Its not the name of Jehovah or Yahweh, the proper name of the One true God of Israel and the Jews, and those who believe in the Judeo-Christian reality of the Old and New Testament or Covenant! Knowledge and use of the name implies personal and covenant relationship. The name also pictures God as the one who exists and too causes existence. Note Jesus Himself claimed both of these speaking and using Himself, the ‘I am’… “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8: 58)…’I Am Who I am’! Jesus is thus claiming not only to be eternal but also to be the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. The Jewish leaders before Jesus understand this meaning immediately and they picked up stones to stone Him! But he veiled himself and moved away. His death would not be with stoning, but nailed to a Holy Cross between heaven and earth!

    1. Dear irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert first of all Allah is a title, just meaning ‘god’ and is used in many languages. Muslims also cannot claim to have the sole right to use the title “Allah” for “God”. Many Christians use the title Allah where is written God and have it in their Bibles standing in pure and in combined form like Al-lah, Al-Lah-ha, Al-Leh-Luh-Hah, etc.

      You say Jesus claimed that he was God. He never did such a thing. Neither did God never say He was Jesus. God is an eternal Spirit, meaning He had no beginning and no end, Who could not be seen by man or they would die. Jesus was, after he was born (beginning) seen by many (who did not fall death). Jesus was also more than once tempted, whilst God can not be tempted. Jesus also really died and was three days in hell (the grave) before he was taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father, who never lies and said that Jesus is His beloved son.

      As anybody still would say “I am” when questioned if he or she is it (cfr. answering a phone or when entering a place). Would you consider such people than to be God, because they reply “I am”?

      Christ’s reference to Abraham is to affirm his (Christ’s) pre-eminence, not pre-existence. The Jews had claimed that Abraham was their father (John 8:39) and so Christ establishes his pre-eminence in the divine purpose by stating that before Abraham was, “I am.” He did not say “before Abraham was, I was” as it is frequently misread. But the Jews, like modern-day trinitarians, misunderstood Jesus. He was not claiming to be literally older in years than Abraham. This is indicated by his prior remark: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56). Abraham, to whom the gospel was preached (Galatians 3:8), “saw” the day of Christ through the eye of faith. you may not forget already in the Garden of Eden (= before Adam) the Messiah or a Saviour was promised and seen by God as the solution for man. Christ was “foreordained before the foundation of the world, but manifest in these last times.” (1Peter 1:20). He was foreordained in the divine purpose, but not formed. Similarly in the divine purpose he was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation of St. John 13:8) but literally he was not slain until his crucifixion in the time of Pilate.

      There is also no proof that Christ alludes to the divine name (imperfectly rendered by the A.V., “I am that I am”). Jesus simply uses the present tense of the verb “to be.” Even if this verse were intended to be read as an allusion to the divine name, this is not proof that Christ was claiming to be “Very God.” The divine name declared “I will be what I will be.” (Exodus 3:14) (R.S.V. mg.). The name was a prophetic declaration of the divine purpose. Jesus Christ was “God manifest in the flesh” (1Timothy 3:16), “the word” (Greek: logos) “made flesh.” (John 1:14). As such, he was the expression of the divine character, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) (cf. Exodus 33:19). and became the “firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29). Christ was the result of the word made flesh, not the originator of the dvine plan. As he himself said, “I proceeded forth and came from God neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” (John 8:42).

      1. @Marcus: A “Christadelphian” eh! Well that’s another name for a Unitarian, which of course has great tolerance on so many differing religious views and doctrines, and the absence of any historical creed/creeds. No sense for “us” to argue here, we will not, nor ever agree! Historical Christianity is of course very confessional and creedal! For us classic Anglicans that does include ‘The Three Creeds’, Nicene Creed, Athanaius’s Creed and that which is commonly called the Apostles Creed, (Anglican Article VIII). And for myself personally as Reformed and Neo-Calvinist, there are many other Reformed Creeds. 🙂

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