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Default Only Muslims can use "Allah"?

April 29th, 2008, 17:20
Before the controversy arised on the use of "Allah" by non-muslim in Malaysia, i never thought much on the etymology of "Allah". In reality, the word is not exclusive for God in Islam. It all started four years ago but the issue became more prominent last year.

At the centre of the case is an order by the government banning the use of the word "Allah" in The Herald, the weekly newspaper of the Catholic community. The Internal Security Ministry, after a delay, renewed the annual printing permit for the weekly in February but it came with a few conditions, including the non-use of the world "Allah". The church filed an application for a judicial review of the permit…
Reference 1
Reference 2

While the Prime Minister was well aware about the non-excusive nature of the usage of "Allah", his standing on the issue seem to been flip-floping when his deputy in the Internal Security Ministry said:

“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word. It’s from (the Arabic language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” he said when contacted.

“We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right,”
Reference 3

According to wikipedia, "Allah" is used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God".

It seems curious why such issue would arised in Malaysia instead in the world's largest Muslim nation, Indonesia. But for people who knew about the history of communal (racial) politics in Malaysia, it's only natural this kind perception arised within certain community due to increased polarization between different ethnic.

The religion issue end up as one of many factors the government suffered heavy lost in recent election since independence 50 years ago. As one opposition parties commentator said, we could have won even if we put a cows in election against the ruling government candidates. Reference 4
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April 29th, 2008, 17:28
My wife's a Middle Eastern Christian, and she uses "Allah" for "God" when speaking Arabic. There are no alternative terms for it in that language either.
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April 30th, 2008, 13:12
And I work with quite a lot of Somali and Pakistani Muslims. I use word "Allah" while talking to them with no objections on their part.
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April 30th, 2008, 14:37
That certainly show the controversy over the issue was due to communal politicking by certain party to gains support from particular community. The sentiment of superiority and and exclusiveness of particular community isn't new anyway in current years.
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May 3rd, 2008, 18:12
No, it's not an arabic word. The ethymology of the word, I think?, derives somewhat from the Hebrew word, El-ohim, a pluralis word for God(s). Even Jesus did go around and called God for Alla-ha, since this is this is deity's name in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.

Palestinian Christians also use the word 'allah' to describe or talk about God.

Of course, we could just use the name Kal-El for God…but somebody down here on earth might get pretty mad…

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