Malaysia’s Constitution defines ethnic Malays as Muslims, leaving Malays with no choice but to identify as Muslim. Conversion to Christianity is against the law in almost all states, as is evangelism among Malay Muslims. Political, social and religious instability is on the rise, while increasing intolerance towards Chinese, Indian and indigenous tribespeople affects Christians, too, as most belong to these minority groups. Political parties like the ruling UMNO and opposition PAS uphold and protect Islam, and government officials therefore strive to maintain or increase the Islamic influence on society to the detriment of non-Muslim minorities, e.g. by running Islamization strategies. Various Muslim NGOs see themselves as “champions of Islam” and have the support of the government. Their statements and actions often stir up racial disharmony and religious discrimination.

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Allah is forbidden

A panel of judges in Malaysia ruled on Wednesday that The Herald, a Catholic weekly newspaper, has no basis to challenge an earlier federal court order to stop using the word “Allah” in its pages to name God. The Herald’s legal odyssey began  in 2009 when the government said the […]

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‘Allah’ verdict postponed

Malaysia’s Federal Court has reserved judgment on a Catholic newspaper’s application to appeal against a ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ in its publication. In a case which started in 2008, The Herald appealed to the Federal Court after the Court of Appeal’s Oct. 2013 decision to ban […]

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Malaysia’s ‘Allah’ impasse

Malaysia’s ‘Allah’ impasse

“God, what is your religion?” This cryptic question, spotted on a T-shirt at a packed public meeting on religious freedom in the Malaysian city of Petaling Jaya last week, sums up the enormity of Malaysia’s ‘Allah’ controversy. The wearer was a Malay Muslim woman, according to The Malaysian Insider, demonstrating […]

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