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Malaysia says Catholic paper can't use word "Allah"
KUALA LUMPUR |
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has ruled that a Catholic newspaper cannot use the word Allah, clarifying reports it had reversed an earlier ban on the use of the word by non-Muslims.
The move deepens fears the government is trying too hard to please the more extremist sections of its Muslim majority at the expense of other religions.
Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of Kuala Lumpur-based "Herald - the Catholic Weekly" was reported this week as saying the government had renewed its publishing permit, without restrictions, after earlier ruling that non-Muslims are forbidden from using the word Allah.
But Abdullah Md Zin, a minister for religious affairs, said on Friday the ban on the use of the word remained despite the renewal of the permit.
"It was just the priest's interpretation that there was no restriction on the use of the word," Abdullah told Reuters.
This is the latest in a series of disputes that is feeding fears of a gradual erosion of the rights of non-Muslims.
Politically dominant ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 percent of the population of roughly 26 million, while the ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities include Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.
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