Malaysian priest denounced over Allah usage

Father Lawrence Andrew

Malaysian priest Lawrence Andrew has been burned in effigy, investigated for sedition and denounced by Muslims in a spiralling dispute over whether Malay-speaking Christians can use 'Allah' to refer to their God, reports AFP in Ucanews.

No one is more taken aback by this than Andrew, a bookish, cheerful 68-year-old Jesuit who has become a reluctant symbol for religious equality in the Muslim-majority nation.

'I never asked for this,' FR Andrew, an ethnic Indian, told AFP before recent Sunday services at his church in a scruffy section of the port city Klang. 'It didn't even cross my mind. Our program is all about love.'

Fr Andrew was thrust into the spotlight in Malaysia's often tense inter-religious relations in 2007 when the government ordered the Catholic weekly, The Herald to stop using the Arabic word, Allah, in its Malay section.

FR Andrew founded the thin, 15,000-circulation paper - which also has English, Chinese and Tamil sections - in 1994. He still edits it in a modest office in Kuala Lumpur shared with a Catholic bookstore.

The Herald challenged the ban, and the ongoing see-saw legal battle triggered a spate of attacks in 2010 on places of worship - mostly churches - including with petrol bombs. Tensions are rising yet again in the multi-faith country as conservative Muslims take up the Allah cause.

FULL STORY Malaysian priest denounced over Allah usage

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