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Malaysia: Non-Muslims banned from using word “Allah”

Malaysia’s king gave his backing today (Jan 19) to a court ruling barring non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to God, weighing in for the first time on an issue that has fanned religious tensions in the multi-cultural country. Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam, whose role as head of state is largely ceremonial, alluded to the issue which has raised questions over minority rights during his birthday speech to the Southeast Asian nation. A court in October ruled that the word was exclusive to majority Malay Muslims, overturning an earlier decision allowing a Catholic newspaper to use Allah in its Malay-language edition.

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