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“Allah Row” Escalates

“Two more churches in Malaysia were firebombed Sunday, bringing the total to six since a court ruled that non-Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’ as a term for God. No one has been hurt in the attacks, which began Friday. They follow a high court's ruling that Christians can use the word ‘Allah’ in literature printed in the country's official language, Malay. In Malay, the word for God is ‘Allah,’ as it is in Arabic. But many in the predominantly Muslim country, including the government, believe the word should be exclusive to Islam. The government has banned the use of the word in Christian literature, saying it is likely to confuse Muslims and draw them to Christianity. It has also appealed the high court's ruling. The bombings may be an attempt to intimidate judges to overturn the decision, said the Rev. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches in Malaysia. Political leaders from a range of parties deplored the attacks on the churches.”
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