Malaysians rally against court ruling after church attacks / PHOTO

Malaysians rallied outside 10 mosques across the nation amid a dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

Malaysians rally against court ruling after church attacks / PHOTO

Malaysians rallied on Friday outside 10 mosques across the nation amid a dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

Tensions were heightened last week when the High Court ruled in favour of the Catholic Herald newspaper which has used "Allah", a word that is used by Muslims around the world.



However, the ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal, after the government warned the decision could cause racial conflict.

Muslims say that they need to defend their religion.

"Today we are here for a peaceful demonstration to tell them our hearts are broken," Arman Azha Abu Hanafiah, one of the Muslim protest leaders on Friday, said.

 


"We have lived in peace with all religions but we want other religions to respect us and the use of the word Allah, which is exclusive to Muslims," said Hanifah said.

Attacks on churches

Police deployed officers to patrol churches and mosques across the country after a midnight attack gutted the ground floor of a church in suburban Kuala Lumpur.

Molotov cocktails were thrown into the compounds of two other churches in pre-dawn raids, but did not cause serious damage.

Prime Minister Najib Razak condemned the attacks which he said could destroy racial harmony in multicultural Malaysia.



Firebombs were later tossed into the compound of at least two more churches -- the Assumption Catholic Church and the Life Chapel Protestant church -- but both failed to explode.

Najib said, action would be taken against offenders.

"It was people who were emotional, who got on a motorbike and threw the bottle with petrol into the church," Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan told reporters.

The newspaper wants to use the word "Allah" to describe the Christian God, but Muslims say Christian missionaries will use the word a tool to confuse and convert Muslims.

Malaysia is mainly Muslim and Malay but there are ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who mainly practise Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Around 9 percent of the 28 million Muslim population are Christian, including 800,000 Catholics.


Agencies


Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2010, 14:55
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