Three churches at­tacked

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

KUALA LUMPUR: Three churches in Malaysia were at­tacked with fire­bombs, caus­ing ex­ten­sive dam­age to one, as Mus­lims pledged yes­ter­day to pre­vent Chris­tians from us­ing the word “Al­lah”, es­ca­lat­ing re­li­gious ten­sions in the mul­tira­cial coun­try.

Many Malay Mus­lims, who make up 60 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, are in­censed by a re­cent high court de­ci­sion to over­turn a ban on Ro­man Catholics us­ing “Al­lah” as a trans­la­tion for God in the Malay-lan­guage edi­tion of their main news­pa­per, the Her­ald.

The gov­ern­ment says Al­lah, an Ara­bic word that pre­dates Is­lam, is exclusive to the faith and by ex­ten­sion to Malays. It re­fuses to make an ex­cep­tion, even though the Her­ald’s Malay edi­tion is read only by Chris- tian in­dige­nous tribes in the re­mote states of Sabah and Sarawak.

At Fri­day pray­ers at two main mosques in down­town Kuala Lumpur, young worshippers car­ried ban­ners and gave fiery speeches, vow­ing to de­fend Is­lam.

“We will not al­low the word Al­lah to be in­scribed in your churches,” one speaker shouted into a loud­speaker at the Kam­pung Bahru mosque. About 50 other peo­ple car­ried posters read­ing “Heresy arises from words wrongly used” and “Al­lah is only for us”.

“Is­lam is above all. Ev­ery ci­ti­zen must re­spect that,” said Ah­mad Jo­hari, who at­tended pray­ers at the Na­tional Mosque.

“We can fight to the death over this is­sue.” – Sapa-AP

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