I refer to the letter Arabic term used in Indonesian bibles by Koon Kong and to the letter Natural for monotheistic religions to use certain terminology by Ikuko Tsunashima-Miyake.
Although I have to agree with a majority of the writers' points on the matter, I am relatively confused as to the reason the term 'Allah' is selected by Bible translators in the region as a replacement for terms such as 'God' and 'Jesus Christ' as used in the Bible.
The word 'God' in English can be translated into the Malay word 'Tuhan'. Assuming that the purpose of the translated Malay Bible is to allow for it to be better understood by the local Malay-speaking population, would the term 'Tuhan' not be more appropriate?
As one might understand, the term 'Allah' being an Arabic word, is as foreign as the word 'God' is to the local non-English speaking, non-Muslim population.
Therefore, what was the reason for the translators to select 'Allah' as the translated form of the word 'God'? Surely, it cannot be for improved comprehension reasons. This, of course, leads one to ponder, if there was and is a conscious effort to confuse the local Muslim population by applying the term 'Allah' in local translations of the Bible?
Furthermore, as one might appreciate, although geographically close, the religious composition of the Malaysian and Indonesian populace could not be further apart. While Malaysia has a Muslim population of approximately 50 percent, Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population. Understandably, whereas certain issues might not be deemed to be sensitive in one country, it might easily be deemed to be offensive in the other.
Finally, as Koon Kong is aware of the fact that 'Allah' is the Arabic word for 'God', the writer should also be aware (or made aware of) that the term 'Allah' is not commonly used by the Jewish or Christian communities in Arab-speaking lands as a reference to God.
Jewish Arabs tend to use Hebrew terms such as 'Adonai' (Lord) or 'Ehyeh' whereas Christian Arabs prefer the use of the Arabic version of Jesus, 'Isa'.