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Malaysia court lets challenge to Allah ban-report

ICC Note:

A Christian whose CDs were confiscated last May because of their use of the word “allah” to describe God was granted on Monday the right to challenge the decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

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5/5/09 Malaysia (Reuters-India) Malaysian court granted permission to a Christian to challenge the authorities for seizing religious material that used the word “Allah”, national news agency Bernama reported on Monday.

The decision represents a minor victory for Christians in this mainly Muslim country who have challenged a ban imposed by the Home Ministry against the use of the Arabic word to describe God by all except for Muslims.

The government has said the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims might confuse Muslims or offend their sensitivities.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday allowed Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill permission to seek an order directing the Home Ministry to return eight CDs seized from her last May, as well as a declaration that she had the right to use materials with the word “Allah” to describe God.

Home Ministry officials seized the CDs from the 27-year-old clerk after she disembarked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The CDs, containing Christian teaching materials, were brought in from Indonesia, where the national language shares much in common with Malay and where “Allah” is routinely used by Christians to describe God.

Jill, a native of the mainly Christian state of Sarawak in Borneo island, claimed she used the word “Allah” in her prayers, worship and religious education.

The case is the second legal challenge against the ban.

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