Tuesday, October 15
An appeals court in Malaysia has ruled that the term "Allah" is exclusive to Islam and use by others to refer to another god "could cause public disorder," reports the BBC News. Christians and people of other faiths in Malaysia often use the word to refer to their respective higher power. "Although religious freedom is guaranteed by Malaysian law, the country's Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities have long complained that the government infringes on their constitutional right to practice religion freely — accusations the government denies," explains Al Jazeera.
Allah is not a Malay word. The origin of the word is Arabic and a contraction of al-'il‘h, or "the god," according to the Oxford Dictionaries. Arab and Christian Muslims alike rely on the word to refer to the higher power.
The court ruling does not address use of the word by non-Muslims to refer to the central figure of Islam.
Fear of Beauty relies on the word at least 75 times, and, no, the censors in Malaysia would not enjoy the plot. The novel criticizes the constant pressure and bullying from those in our communities who try to censor and control others - and deny cooperation and commonality. Adherents who must control others are deeply insecure.
Photo of St. Paul's Church in Malacca, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Bjørn Christian Tørrissen.