Channel NewsAsia

UMNO supporters thank govt for preserving sanctity of the word “Allah”

In Malaysia, more than a thousand UMNO members and supporters rallied outside the ruling party's headquarters in support of the word "Allah" being used exclusively by Muslims.

KUALA LUMPUR: In Malaysia, more than a thousand UMNO members and supporters rallied outside the ruling party's headquarters in support of the word "Allah" being used exclusively by Muslims.

The group went all the way to Kuala Lumpur from Pasir Salak in the state of Perak to thank the government for preserving the sanctity of the Arabic word.

Dr Faizal Tajuddin, Pasir Salak UMNO youth chief, said: "We are from Pasir Salak. We are very sensitive about the issue and we want to show our support."

The ongoing debate in Malaysia over who can use the Arabic term escalated earlier this month, when hundreds of Malay-language bibles with the word were seized by Selangor's religious authorities.

Prime Minister Najib Razak broke his silence on the matter after an UMNO's supreme council meeting on Friday.

He said while his government endorsed a 2011, 10-point solution allowing Malay and indigenous language bibles to use the word "Allah", that agreement was still subject to state and federal laws.

Mr Najib said: "In the 10-point agreement, there is a formal recognition. One of the points is that it must be based on the federal and state laws."

Therefore, the decision goes back to the Selangor government, which in 1988 passed a decree that said the term "Allah" cannot be used in non-Islamic contexts.

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