Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Allah ban unconscionable, archbishop declares

Archbishop Lapok disappointed that a Malaysian appellate court has refused to review the ruling banning a Catholic newspaper from using the world “Allah” to refer to God

The Primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia has voiced his disappointment over a Malaysian appellate court’s refusal to review the ruling which banned a Catholic newspaper from using the world “Allah” to refer to God. The Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, archbishop of the province and Bishop of Sarawak said the ruling would impact the native Christians of Borneo who have used the word “Allah” when speaking of God for over two centuries. “The word ‘Allah’ has become embedded in the languages and cultures of the non-Muslim natives of West Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah,” he told reporters after the ruling was handed down on 22 January 2015. The aboriginal peoples of Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, “who should receive more help and protection, are the ones who are affected the most by this decision,” he said. The ruling was not an example of “political expediency” prevailing over “common sense, over what is universally right.” While the Catholic Herald newspaper may have been the defendant in this case, it was “Malaysia that has been on trial before a watching world,” he said.

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