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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Idris: Gov't didn't ask me to tell Christians to use Yahweh not Allah

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala has denied reports that he is heading a government effort to convince Christians to stop using the word 'Allah'.

The Kelabit Christian, however, fell short of negating the claim that he had indeed advocated that the word 'Yahweh' to be adopted instead.

"I was never asked by the government to convince Christians...I get asked lots of things but today we talk about the economy," he said when pressed by reporters at an SME conference in Kuala Lumpur.

"Church matters should be left in church. I hope whatever I say in church and my prayers will not be broadcast."

NONEIdris (left) was queried following a media report which named Idris, a member of the prominent church Sidang Injil Borneo, as part of a group of Putrajaya-dispatched envoys sent to push the matter.

According to the report, Idris had made the call to drop the use of the word Allah at a church conference last month, ruffling the feathers of many.

The government had banned the usage of the word in Christian publications, including the Malay language bible, as the same word is also used by the majority Muslims to refer to God.

Disputes over the matter had led to arson attacks on places of worship and widespread street protests by non-governmental groups, claiming to be defending the sanctity of Islam.

The Catholic Church on Dec 31, 2009 won a court ruling upholding its constitutional right to print the word "Allah" in its newspaper.

The government has applied to stay the ruling, while the Court of Appeal has yet to indicate when it will move the case along. - Malaysiakini

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