Thursday, January 8, 2009

Malaysia: Catholic paper that used Allah can print

By JULIA ZAPPEI – 10 hours ago AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia will allow the Malay edition of a Catholic newspaper to resume publication, lifting a ban imposed for its use of the word "Allah," an official said Thursday — a move likely aimed at assuaging the anger of minorities in this Muslim-majority country.

The Herald, the country's main Roman Catholic newspaper, will not be allowed to use "Allah" as a translation for "God," however, said Che Din Yusoh, a senior official with the ministry's publications control unit.

"If they stop printing the word 'Allah,' they can publish anytime," Che Din told The Associated Press. "You can use another word. It's permissible for us," he said, adding that the decision would be conveyed to the Herald by Friday.

The Home Ministry had ordered the Herald last week to stop printing its Malay edition for violating a 2007 ban on the use of the word "Allah," except to refer to the Muslim God. The government says using the word could confuse Muslims, even though the newspaper is read almost exclusively by Christians.

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