One Nation, Under Gods

Illustration for article titled One Nation, Under Gods

[Kota Tinggi, Malaysia; January 14. Image via Getty]

MALAYSIA OUT Red paint, splashed by unidentified vandals, is seen around a statue of the Virgin Mary at the St. Elizabeth Catholic church in Kota Tinggi of Malaysia's Johor state on Januray 14, 2010. Malaysia's Catholic Church said its lawyers' offices had been burgled and ransacked in the latest of a spate of attacks triggered by a row over the use of the word 'Allah'. Trouble broke out after the High Court decided on December 31 to lift a government ban on non-Muslims using 'Allah' as a translation for 'God'. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)


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SIGH. My native tongue is a Malay language (Bahasa Indonesia) and we used 'Allah' in our church when I was growing up. This region has been strategic for trade for millenia and gets so much linguistic influences from all over, including the Middle East. 'Allah' is one of among many Arabic words that became a part of the Malay language long before the recent increases politicization of religion around here. :(