The verdict on the Malaysian government’s appeal against the High Court’s ruling in December 2009, which upheld the right of other faiths to use ‘Allah’ (eg. for ‘God’ in a Malay language Bible) will be given next month. The 2009 ruling triggered fire-bombings and vandalism targeted at churches and Christian-run schools.

When one affected pastor said on TV “We forgive”, it prompted political debate about the Christian ethic of forgiveness, but this was not enough to stop the government appealing against this ruling to appease the Malay majority.

That appeal was finally heard yesterday, with government, Catholic Church representatives and Muslim hardliners in a packed courtroom.