Malaysian mosque vandalised after incidents over Allah word

A Malaysian mosque was vandalised, threatening to deepen a row over the use of the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God in multiracial country.

Malaysian mosque vandalised after incidents over Allah word


A Malaysian mosque was vandalised on Saturday, threatening to deepen a row over the use of the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God in multiracial country.

The violence followed previous attacks on 11 churches.

The Saturday incident in the Borneo island state of Sarawak is the first against a mosque after the arson and vandalism attacks on churches, and could stoke anger among Malay Muslims who make up 60 percent of the country's 28 million population.

Malaysia's deputy police chief Ismail Omar said police found broken glass near the outside wall of the mosque, and warned troublemakers against whipping up emotions*.

"Don't make any speculation. We are investigating this incident. The situation remains peaceful and no one should take advantage of this to create something bad," Ismail told Reuters.

Ismail could not confirm whether the bottles thrown at the mosque were that of alcoholic beverages, which is forbidden to Muslims, but said he believed the act was vandalism.

Court ruling

The row stems from a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use "Allah" in its Malay-language editions, which caused Muslims to protest outside mosques on Friday last week.

Most of the attacks have been against churches but a Sikh temple was also vandalised on Wednesday.

The office of the lawyer representing the Catholic publication in the court case over the use of the word was broken into and ransacked on Thursday.

Many Malays have expressed unhappiness over allowing the word to be used by Christians.

A page created in the online networking site Facebook to protest the use of the word by non-Muslims has so far attracted more than 220,000 users.

The Berita Harian Malay language newspaper reported on Saturday that 70 Muslim-Malay groups would submit on Monday a memorandum appealing for intervention from the titular Malay rulers who oversee Islamic affairs in their respective states.

The government has warned that laws, including the Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial, would be deployed to keep tensions from boiling over.

A 25-year-old Malay student was charged in court on Friday with threatening public safety following a comment he reportedly made on his Facebook page offering to throw petrol bombs.

The government of Prime Minister Najib Razak is appealing the court verdict and has condemned the arson and vandalism attacks.

Reuters

Last Mod: 03 Mart 2010, 11:48
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