The director of Malaysia’s Catholic Herald newspaper, at the centre of the storm regarding Christians’ use of the word ‘Allah’, is being investigated for comments made in an article on December 27 claiming Catholics have a right to use the word.
Lawrence Andrew, who is also a Catholic priest, is being investigated for “sedition”, reports Fides.
This follows the seizure by the country’s top Islamic authority, alongside police, of more than 330 Malaysian bibles from the Malaysian Bible Society last week because they used the word ‘Allah’ for God.
The Islamic Religious Department claims the use of the word ‘Allah’ should be reserved for Muslims alone.
In a separate development, the Malaysian government has moved to ban the country’s leading coalition of 54 human rights NGOs, COMANGO, which reported to the UN Human Rights’ Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2013.
The government says most of these NGOs are ‘un-Islamic’ and un-registered. COMANGO says as a coalition entity, it is not itself bound by registration legislation.
During the UPR, COMANGO called for its government to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Article 18 is about the rights of religious freedom.
A representative of the Malaysian government defended its religious restrictions, saying they are in the interests of public order.