Since Jan 8, there has been a spate of churches being vandalised, in which at least one was badly damaged. Though these incidents pale in comparision with religious strife elsewhere, such open displays of religious hostility in Malaysia are rare.

Even days before the High Court judgement, debates about the ‘Allah’ issue showed Muslim groups were split on the issue. Some supported the Christians’ ‘right’ to use ‘Allah’ as there was nothing in Islam nor in its history that indicated the word was exclusive to Muslims, while others urged Muslims to be wary of the real agenda behind the Catholic leaders’ demand.

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