Is Allah the same as God of the Bible?
Controversy rages over the question, but now the government of Malaysia has weighed in with the opinion that Allah is unique to Islam. The AP reports:
A Malaysian church and a Christian weekly newspaper are suing the government for banning them from using the word "Allah," alleging that the prohibition is unconstitutional and against freedom of religion.The move follows the government's declaration that "Allah" - which means God in the Malay language - refers to the Muslim God and can only be used by Muslims. [emphasis added]These are the first legal challenges against the mainly Muslim government's decision, and they come amid minority groups' increasing concerns that their rights are being trampled upon.
[Christian Pastor Jerry] Dusing said Christians in Sabah on Borneo island have used the word "Allah" for generations when they worship in the Malay language, and the word appears in their Malay Bible.
"The Christian usage of 'Allah' predates Islam. 'Allah' is the name of God in the old Arabic Bible as well as in the modern Arabic Bible," he said, adding that "Allah" was widely used by Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia and other parts of the world without problem.