I refer to the Malaysiakini report Najib: We can't stop people from protesting.
Malaysians are naturally anxious about the recent controversy about the ‘Allah’ issue. However, many are not fully aware of the facts of the case, thus giving rise to unnecessary concerns and fears.
1. The word ‘Allah’ is an Arabic word meaning ‘God’ and has been used by Christians long before the 7th century and is currently used by Christians in Arab-speaking countries. Thus the term is not the monopoly of Islam.
2. During the translation of the Bible, Christians follow the principle of using the term in the local language for God. The Hebrew term for God is ‘El’ or ‘Elohim’, the Greek word is ‘Theo’, French is ‘Dieu’, and ‘ShangTi ‘ in Chinese.
In English, ‘God’ is used and never has ‘Allah’ appeared in the English Bible. This will answer accusations that the term ‘Allah’ was never found in the Bible.
3. The Bible had been translated in the Malay language as early as 300 years ago, and the term ‘Allah’ was chosen as it was the word used by the people in the region. Thus, the Malaysian church did not introduce the term only recently.
4. Twenty million Indonesians use the Al-Kitab where the term ‘Allah’ had been used in a country with 90% Muslims who have not been ‘threatened’ in the last 80 years. Why the fears in Malaysia?
5. Bahasa Malaysia Bibles and publications have been restricted for use only within the churches and have been prohibited from being available in public areas. Christians have reluctantly accepted this restriction over the last 30 years. During this time, there was never any evidence that Christians have intentionally ‘confused’ the Muslims.
6. However when the authorities stopped the printing of Bahasa Malaysia and even Iban Bibles, and prohibited the Catholic Herald (which is only sold within the churches), there was no choice but to go to the courts for a solution. There is no intention to ‘provoke’ any sentiments.
7. With the national language policy over the last 50 years, Malaysians (especially Christians from Sabah and Sarawak) are more familiar with the use of Bahasa Malaysia in churches, and the term ‘Allah’ has become part of their vocabulary.
It is thus necessary for Christians using Bahasa Malaysia and other indigenous languages to use the therm ‘Allah’ in Bible studies, prayer and worship.