Friday, January 08, 2010

Protests, Church Attacks Greet Malaysian Decision on Use of "Allah" By Catholic Paper

In Malaysia, last week's High Court decision (see prior posting) allowing the Catholic newspaper, The Herald, to use the word "Allah" in its Malay-language edition to refer to God, has generated protests in mosques and arson attacks on four Christian churches. Today both the London Times and Al Jazeera report on developments. Molotov cocktails were thrown at four churches around Kuala Lumpur. Only one of the churches, the Metro Tabernacle Church, was seriously damaged. Speakers in mosques protested the court's decisions and protesters carried signs charging heresy. Police have stepped up security at churches and political leaders have condemned the attack. Also, apparently in reaction to the court ruling, the website of the Malaysian judiciary was hacked on Thursday and threatening messages were posted. The court's decision will be appealed and its implementation has been stayed while the appeal is pending.

UPDATE: AP reports that on Sunday, two more churches were fire bombed and a third was splashed with black paint. Government leaders and many Muslims have condemned the attacks. In Egypt, Syria and Indonesia Christians commonly use the word "Allah" to describe God.