On air: Should you be able to call your God whatever you want?

UPDATE: Three churches have been torched in Malaysia as religion tensions rise. Churches are bracing themselves for further attacks.

God’s just been to court. Well in Malaysia anyway.

The Malaysian government has filed an appeal against a court ruling that allows non-Muslims to use the word  Allah  to refer to God.

Protests by Muslim groups are breaking out across the country and online. The blogs are going mad over this asking whose God is Allah anyway?

Malaysia’s Catholic Church says that it uses the word Allah to meet the linguistic needs of some Malay worshippers. The government believes that Allah is  solely an Islamic word whilst the court upholds that the term predates Islam.  

The debate got me thinking about how I would feel if another religion used a Hindu term to refer to their God, may it be “Ishwar” or “Krishna”. Whilst I don’t think I’d be angry, I think I might feel a bit uncomfortable.

Joel Trumpet isn’t impressed at the ruling and he’s a Christian. He feels that by using the word “Allah” Christians are sending out mixed messages.

For Blogger Lucia Lai however, it’s great news.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is asking Muslims not to blow this out of proportion, but do they have a right to be angry?

“The idea of bringing Allah before the courts is abominable as it is abhorrent,” says Sakmongkol. ” In the Malaysian context, Allah has always been the god of Islam. Whose religion is this? It is the religion of the Malays. It is the religion of 15-16 million Malaysians as opposed to the religion of between 850,000 to 1 million Catholics. ”

I’ve been taking a look at various online dictionaries and what they have to say about Allah. I couldn’t find a consensus.
So is it all about context?

This blogger feels that both parties are blowing this out of proportion.
‘If I were a Muslim, I would probably say, “Oh never mind, let the Catholics go ahead and use the word Allah.
If I were a Catholic, I would probably say, “Oh never mind, let’s just drop the word Allah and use the word Tuhan instead.'”

 Space between the ears in California disagrees. “How one religion could have a monopoly on a generic term or name is beyond me,” he adds.

So should you have the right to call your God by any name you please?

236 Responses to “On air: Should you be able to call your God whatever you want?”

  1. 1 dan
    January 4, 2010 at 16:34

    This revelas the immaturity of Islam and the ignorance it has kept its worshipers in.
    The Koran speaks of Christianity and Judaism as people of “the book” and worshipers of the one true God.
    It matters not who uses what name to call God but it is how well one lives up to God’s expectation of how we should live and worship.
    That may be too much of an advanced concept though so there begins a fight over who can call God by what name.
    Surely God is crying.

    • 2 abiy
      January 5, 2010 at 12:58

      @dan……”This revelas the immaturity of Islam and the ignorance it has kept its worshipers in”….your statement in itself shows you immaturity on matters that concern islam and islam in itself. first of all its not ISLAM that is involved in this disagreement but MALAYSIAN muslims. attacking ISLAM might give some pleasure but it only reduses your comments to mild vitriolic which has no substance.
      yes the Holy Quran does mention Christians and Jews as people of the book, however this reffers to Orthodox christians and Jews who have not deviated from their ancient BOOKS not contemporary Christians and jews with their letest versions of “improved” holy books.
      personaly i dont like this at all, i think non-muslims should use their own reference to god to minimize misunderstandings which may arise.

    • 3 shree
      January 5, 2010 at 18:58

      Whether one say Allah or Jescus or Ram or any name they might call, its the belief that matter not the name. Names are the one people gave to ideolized the trust they believe in. God is the one who boost up your energy when you are down, one who guide you from wrong way to right, it doesn’t matter what name you give.

    • January 7, 2010 at 15:56

      God is not crying because he,she or it,call the creative force what you like, is not here. The Lords of Wisdom returned to their own celestial plain 200,000 years ago and left it to their creations to fend for themselves.The genetic material they used to alter the life form that existed on earth at that time to create what we today call Homo Sapiens is still developing within the frontal lobes of the human brains. However it is not developing at the same rate in all human beings.This will go on causing conflicts for another millenier.
      The more underdeveloped humans will need to cling to the beliefs that have conditioned them since the transformation so as to maintain a sence of security within their chosen religion.

      • January 8, 2010 at 16:33

        Are you by chance a student of Zacharia Sitchin? Interesting theories, but when placed in a public forum some might think you a nutter. I find such ideas fascinating to discuss and ponder, but they belong more in a forum about whether or not a god exists rather than this one only addressing what some choose to call the God(s) they choose to believe in.

    • 6 Qudratullah...Kabul
      January 9, 2010 at 07:21

      For sure, you can call your God whatever name you select for. I, as a Muslim, use “God” instead of Allah anytime, but of course there is no restriction to non-muslims to say “Allah” instead of “God”. But the inferences are different. Since Christianity and Judiasm are regarded devine religions, they can call whether “God” or “Allah”. Becuase between the three religions God=Allah=God. But for Idiolist (those who worship other than the true God, may can not use. Because Krishna is neither God nor Allah, but goddess. Therefore, I request Dan to make sure that inferences are different, still Islam is the same Islam–comprehensive, complete and vivid!

  2. 7 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
    January 4, 2010 at 16:34

    If the real-life consequences of the issue weren’t so serious, I’d almost think this topic was taken from Terry Gilliam’s film Time Bandits. It reminded me of this bit of dialogue:

    Kevin: Who was that man?
    Fidgit: That was no man. That was the Supreme Being.
    Kevin: You mean God?
    Fidgit: Well, we don’t know Him that well. We only work for Him.

  3. 8 Dennis Junior
    January 4, 2010 at 16:42

    Hi Krupa—

    (So should you have the right to call your God by any name you please?)

    Yes, I am not a Muslim and, I think that you should be allowed to call God by any name…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  4. January 4, 2010 at 16:46

    This is certainly a storm in a tea-cup! Rather than dissipating their energies on the term ‘Allah’ which means god, the angry demonstrators should show their magnanimity. It is as if the demonstrators have a patent right on the term ‘Allah’. Instead they should be concentrating on promoting multiracial, multicultural Malaysia as an exemplary country where races live in peace and harmony where equality of opportunity takes pride of place and where different faiths are practised side by side:Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism etc. The moment religious groups start squabbling over petty issues, there is a real danger that religious harmony which Malaysia has always prided itself will be in real jeopardy. As a Malaysian living in Belgium, I urge tolerance and goodwill. The multiracial tapestry of Malaysia is its biggest asset.

    • 10 paulo
      January 8, 2010 at 13:53

      I agree entirely with Pancha Chandra’s comments that magnanimity should be shown by the Muslim demonstrators and that neither they nor anyone else has sole rights to the use of the word ‘Allah’.
      However, his comments on racial and religious tolerance in Malaysia indicate he is totally out of touch with the actual situation. As widely documented in the free world media, not the government controlled mouthpieces of the Malaysian media, there is more racial and religious tension in Malaysia now than at any time since the race riots of the late ‘60s. Much of the current problem stems directly from greedy and power-hungry Malay politicians exploiting the fears of the largely poor and poorly educated Malay electorate.
      I am married to a Malay and we both feel that racial and religious intolerance in Malaysia cannot be changed until equality between races and religions is formally and legally recognised and practiced by the Malay ruling elite. There is no hope that this will happen while :
      a) the Malaysian constitution permits only bumiputra’s (i.e. Malay race) to govern the country.
      b) the Malaysian constitution requires that bumiputra’s must follow the Islamic faith and are not permitted freedom of choice in their religion.

  5. 11 mohammad
    January 4, 2010 at 16:46

    interesting. iirc, “Allah” means “God” in Arabic. Is the predominant language in Malaysia Arabic? Does the predominant language in Malaysia have a word for “god” (lower case, as in “a god” and not “our one and only God”)? It seems that monotheist cultures often simply use the (lowercase) “god” to refer to their “God”

    • January 7, 2010 at 16:12

      Dont start delving into all the words in the English language that were borrowed from other languages.You might discover you have found the answer to the Babel sydrome.Even perhaps getting every one to speak with one tongue so they all understand each other. Incidently,did anybody see those three pigs flying around the moon the other night.

  6. 13 patti in cape coral
    January 4, 2010 at 16:50

    I can’t see that it matters one way or another, but obviously a lot of people are going to be in an uproar about this. It’s getting difficult to say what you mean in a way that won’t offend people in any context. I used to say “I will pray for you” when somebody was telling me their woes, but an atheist acquaintance was offended, so my daughter suggested the phrase “I will petition the universe on your behalf” which has a nice ring to it. Not sure if God is there, I think he is, but I don’t think he (or she) cares if we call him God, Jehova, Allah, or whatever.

    • 14 Jennifer
      January 4, 2010 at 20:38


      I find it offensive that someone (atheist) rebuffed your kind remark of offering to pray for someone who was experiencing hard times. You should not apologize for something that you obviously did not mean as offensive. 🙂

      People are not “generic”; don’t be afraid to risk offending someone by saying what you truly believe and instead placing a “universal” generic statement.

      • 15 Ibukun
        January 9, 2010 at 09:11

        Jennifer i think Patti is right to have appologised. that way she has applied wisdom. avoided a fight that could be hijacked by others and her good intention misintepreted.

  7. 16 t
    January 4, 2010 at 16:51

    If another religion uses the word Allah, the intentions may be good. But how much do these people really know about Islam? Studying Islam and NOT giving into kneejerk fear is one thing. But how many people are willing to do that?

  8. January 4, 2010 at 17:03

    This is stupid.

    The goal of Islam is to get everyone in the world to pray to Allah.

    So now, the muslims do not want that.

    • 18 Mustafa
      January 8, 2010 at 21:06

      Yes,that is true and to me Muslims DO wabt that.
      Dear Marianne,” these : who claim otherwise ae either wahhabi or Taleban Muslims,as these factions appear to have fanaticism and racial bias, even amongst fellow MUSLIMS

  9. 19 Alan in Arizona
    January 4, 2010 at 17:14

    God is God. God is a good entity. As long as we all know God created all and watches out over all, it shouldn’t matter what God is called as long as it’s respectful of all religions that worship God.

    If a group thinks that God is only relevant to their religion then they are not worshiping the God that watches out and cares for all of us.

    No matter what the name, a good God fills us with love, compassion, understanding and hope. If what people get from various religions consists of hate, violence, distrust and loathing of other religions then God is not part of their religion. Maybe the entity they worship is hiding behind names that cover the truth of Satan!

    I’m LDS or Mormon to some. We are taught to accept other religions and be respectful of their teachings and beliefs. In my view if you do good in the name of religion then you are worshiping God no matter what name is used. If you are doing wrong to others, including violence, killing, rape, and verbal abuse, then you are working for Satan no matter what religion you profess to belong to. Something else evil is guiding you.

  10. 20 piscator
    January 4, 2010 at 17:14

    It’s not that you shouild be able to call your God by what ever name you want, that is obviously true. The real question is – should other people be able to force you to stop using a name for God, or believing, and saying, what you freely wish about religious matters. That is unfortunately the situation in many countries like Malaysia at the moment.

  11. 21 James
    January 4, 2010 at 17:14

    Sure! Why not? At this time in this world, when the basic teaching of a higher being, treat others as you would like to be treated, is so widely ignored. The words of God are near corrupted from existence? Who is the true spokes person here on earth for the higher being, God?

  12. 22 A R Shams
    January 4, 2010 at 17:16

    God, Allah, Vagwan or such of any is meant for one and the same. However, when one says ALLAH, it means HE (Allah) has no inheritance etc.

    He (Allah) is unique and alone. He (Allah) has no offspring, nor He (Allah) is anybody’s offspring and so on.

    Whereas, ‘God’ gives different meaning and ‘Vagwan’ has its different sense.

  13. 23 Nelson Isibor
    January 4, 2010 at 17:18

    This is just semantics at work !!

  14. 24 farhan chaudhary
    January 4, 2010 at 17:21

    if i am not mistaken and my information is correct “allah” is the arabic word for god…so if people want to say god,allah,bahgwan(hindi for god)..i honestly dont think it matters…and as a muslim i woudl like to point out that this is the precise over-sensitivity of some muslims which create problems for moderates like me…i dont think it is such a big issue honestly…but to each his own i guess…and if i might add something here…..isn’t it true that the qoran states allah is the one god of all people…allah is not just a “muslim” god….so by opposing this aren’t muslims going agianst the teachings and words of the holy qoran?? i am no scholar on religion but i do think my points are valid…would love to hear what other people think…

    • 25 Tracy in Portland,OR
      January 8, 2010 at 17:57

      I hope and imagine most Muslims are like you, Farhan. I have a friend who was raised in Lebanon and what you said here reminds me of things he has said to me in the past. He had one Christian and one Muslim parent so had a very unique view growing up. I wish more people in western culture understood that the bad we see are a small very vocal/violent minority of Muslims.

      Please everyone lets not buy into the hate mongers. It reminds me of the cold war era. Citizens of the USA and citizens of the USSR didn’t hate each other. And most of us if we did buy into all the political chest beating just wondered why the other country didn’t like us.

  15. 26 Sascha
    January 4, 2010 at 17:22

    Religion lacks a clear clarification of what the term God, Gods, Allah or religion lacks a clear clarification of what the term God or Gods is, so without a sensible definition theism is incoherent, at the very best.
    It is best to embrace the truth as it really is rather than to persevere in deception, however pleasing and assuring it seems to be.Krishna….. is, so without a sensible definition theism is incoherent, at the very best.
    It is best to embrace the truth as it really is rather than to persevere in deception, however pleasing and assuring it seems to be.

  16. 27 Sascha
    January 4, 2010 at 17:32

    Religion lacks a clear clarification of what the term God ,Allah, or even Gods is.
    So without a sensible definition theism is incoherent, at the very best.
    It is best to embrace the truth as it really is rather than to persevere in deception, however pleasing and assuring it seems to be.

    January 4, 2010 at 17:37

    This is a new controversy that is taking back to view God as something that can be patented; a private property or essorteric politics that is. We all live as if we have a God as a common goal to achieve. Well, it looks as if that is an illusion and probably it is. Behaviors differ too because of the narrow interests that are being advocated in this sense by the religious adherents.
    There has never been one name for God where I live – Christian warshipers still name God in their native name. Other ethnic groups are welcome to use the term; Muslims included. Native Muslims still use native names for Allah and I have not heard of any Fatwahs being issued as a result of this.
    These people are just protagonists/eccentrics. They have not said enough and need to be a bit more elaborate.
    However it is a healthy argument. Christians say that until you procraim Jesus as Son of God; you cannot be saved. Some Christians are born dumb. Will they ever be saved – these issues need to be cleared otherwise some people will miss out.

  18. 29 Ibrahim in UK
    January 4, 2010 at 17:43

    Allah is the word the Arabs use for God, whether they are Arab Muslims, Arab Christians or Arab Jews. (some Arab songs by Christians even sing Allahu Akbar).
    Muslims believe that all the Abrahamic faiths worship the same God; Allah.

    The furore against Christian Malays using the word Allah is probably because they fear that the Christians are using the word for the purpose of converting Muslims, rather than a linguistic necessity.
    E.g. if Christians, while addressing a Hindu audience, started saying “…and Krishna begot a son who died on the cross for our sins…” Would that be for language purposes or for other?

  19. 31 umair
    January 4, 2010 at 17:57

    Every one shold be free in his religion
    and no one i think iz bound to cal his or her god ALLAH
    if a person is muslim then it iz cumplsory dat he she
    uze de name of hez god ALLAH

    • 32 Charles Bakosi
      January 10, 2010 at 16:35

      The world is gradually going crazy, who ever saw GOD and who gave him the name Allah or whatever each indiviuals call him. Iam sure GOd gave himself free to us, we should be able to call him what we like, who cares what you call him provided he answers our prayers.

  20. 33 Tom K in Mpls
    January 4, 2010 at 18:16

    Words are words. The only power they have, is given by the person using them. This makes as much sense as limiting the use of words because someone may think it was a negative racist comment. Completely PC, completely absurd!

  21. January 4, 2010 at 18:38

    The fact behind the word “Allah”
    Other names refer to God like God in English “Khuda” in persian have their feminine and Plurals Like God & Godess and Khuda & Khudaon but the Allah is the only word which qualifies the true definition of God and have no Plurals and Feminine According to Muslims Belief.
    That’s why they are agitated and provoked by the ruling of their Court.

    • 35 Tom K in Mpls
      January 4, 2010 at 18:54

      So, that is supposed to justify them to prevent others from using it, when their faith has been using it in some degree for thousands of years? While the scholarly linguistic issues may be interesting to some, it has no bearing regarding rights. And as I think you know, meaning can change dramatically in different groups. Each is correct.

  22. 36 shahlagulnaz
    January 4, 2010 at 18:48

    I think when U have a strongest believe in your faith that associate you with youer spirtual guardian.It looks too minute when the creature choose the name of his “god”,unless it is not been tought by Him.Let Him do His work.Whatever the right He has given to you,you cann’t go beyond them.So you are not the creater of any of His name.You r just the chooser.He gives U the right to choose,Either it is “Allah”Or”God”in your religion.

  23. 38 viola
    January 4, 2010 at 19:03

    Sorry if I’ve got it wrong, but doesn’t “Allah” mean “God” in Arabic? And if you believe that there is only one God/Allah/Dios/Gott/Dieu, etc., what’s the problem?

    The Malaysian court got it exactly right. The light of reason still shines. Yay!

  24. 39 Tom D Ford
    January 4, 2010 at 19:34

    “God’s just been to court.”

    That’s actually a good idea, subpoena him/her in all of his/her aliases and guises and if he/she does not appear in person, declare him/her dead.

    That would finally free humanity from the superstitious nonsense that is religion.

    Sheesh, we can only wish.

    • 40 Tom K in Mpls
      January 4, 2010 at 19:49

      Close quote from Douglas Adams:”… they proved that God existed. Then of course, God being a creature of faith, immediately ceased to exist.”

  25. 41 viola
    January 4, 2010 at 19:49

    If you believe there is only one Allah, you must believe Allah is Allah to all, therefore it makes no sense to claim ownership of Allah’s name and to forbid others to use it. Anyway, stop confusing a name with an object. Is a picture of you, you? As others have pointed out, “Allah” is only a word. “God” is only a word. They are attempts to name the unnameable.

    If Muslims are so weak in their faith that they feel threatened by people of other faiths using “Allah”, the problem is their own fear. They need to get a better understanding of themselves.

  26. 42 gary
    January 4, 2010 at 20:02

    Wow! A modern court has allowed folks free use of the Arabic language. What will they think of next?

  27. 43 Tom D Ford
    January 4, 2010 at 20:14

    The proper name for “God” is “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” but if I misunderstand correctly you can sauce him up anyway you like.

  28. 44 patti in cape coral
    January 4, 2010 at 20:22

    Linguistically speaking, I like the way the word Allah rolls off the tongue, but my mom would probably have a cow if I started using it. Some words carry too much power for some people.

  29. 45 Jennifer
    January 4, 2010 at 20:48

    Re: Should you be able to call your God whatever you want?


    When I think of the term “Allah” I think of the muslim god. However, language as a barrier may make it necessary for some people to refer to God as “Allah”. Oh goodness, muslims do not own the term “allah”.

    I don’t understand why muslims are upset that non-muslims are calling God Allah when it should be more important that people are developing a relationship with god.

  30. 46 rob z.
    January 4, 2010 at 21:02

    Any person from any faith should be allowed to reffer to their deity any way they so choose.
    This is not political correctness,just a show of respect for that persons choice of faith.
    All names for deities,be they Hindu,Buhdist,Shinto,Muslim,Tribal or Christian should be respected for they represent the same thing for those who follow them.
    Apples & Oranges= a fruit is a fruit.
    Rob in Florida.

  31. 47 mat hendriks
    January 4, 2010 at 21:57

    Peoples all over the world giving names to “GOD”
    Wich name is to prefer?

    All these names are beautiful,
    different names for one and the same God.
    What is in a name?

    When ever, I had the choice, I called him:
    All names given in respect and showing our love are beautiful.
    I use different names .
    For my Creator I would do everything,
    but for a name.

  32. 48 anne marie machla
    January 4, 2010 at 21:59

    well allah means god its not like buddah wasnt that a man who went to find himself and people call human beings god allah isnt a person who folk follow its god same god who created everything and everyone just as man in arabic is ragel and sun is shimms so allah is god its doesnt mean anything else but most folk dont realise this they think allah was a man that muslims follow astafrillah the last word i wrote means im sorry to allah for saying people think he is a man

  33. 49 Vijay Pillai
    January 4, 2010 at 22:21

    As hindu, i know there are thoudands of name to call god,god is everywhere whether in wood or man or woman or up in the air.But the word allah, from my knowledge used by mulims.But is allah an arab word? I know muslims refer to allah ahu akbar? god is great? I am ignorant as the next person if the word allah refer to god prehistorical to islam.If the ruling is by the court then they have better knowledge one would think.But in a multiracial society ,racial harmony and relgious harmony is more important for economic prosperity than the anchient interpretaion of allah.Hope wisdom prevails.

    If countries like the european more wellcome of faith other than their own, world need coorporation and not conflit.god bless all.Hinddus also use the two hands riased like muslims or kneel like muslims to pray in temples. thank god there were no claim it can only be used by muslims? Hindus have been praying like muslims as well for 5000 years. I also know in tamil, we have thirukural for 2000 years and i have known kuran as refering to muslim prayer book when i was about 10 years old,but now called thirukuran .Good luck to all.

  34. 50 mughiza khalid
    January 4, 2010 at 23:17

    being a muslim we belive in the oneness of our ALLAH for us he is the only one

    Allah has its onwn identity we cant give or choose different names for him because he is the one who made us who give us our identity and name we can,t give him names

  35. 52 Abram
    January 5, 2010 at 02:27

    Isn’t Malaysia an apartheid state, where non-Malays are treated as second-class citizens, and non-Muslim Malays as criminals? And, why is the world silent about it?

  36. 53 Ibrahim Musa K, Malaysia
    January 5, 2010 at 04:17

    Many of us are not as open-minded as our ancestors a century (or even several decades) ago. We tend to be getting more and more sensitive or intolerant to everything that touches on our religion.

    If we keep narrowing our tunnel of vision, we will not be able to keep pace with this fast changing world and unnecessarily caging ourselves in a tight corner.

    Is that really what we want?

  37. 54 Tom of Melbourne
    January 5, 2010 at 06:34

    Those who have problem with the naming of god is either playing petty religious politics or are plain shallow in their belief. Religion is a faith and god is an almighty entity whose capacity escapes the human grasp. As long as the faithful is aware of His greatness and is calling Him out of deep sincerity, then His name or even ‘His’ gender is irrelevant as they are simply human constructs. God is greater than mere labels or figurines.

    By the way I am non-religious but my spirituality rests on the obsrevation of natural beauties and the capabilities of human mind. As from these the fingerprints of god’s work could be directly observed, and I believe where ancient writers of holy scriptures heard God’s words all those years ago.

  38. 55 scmehta
    January 5, 2010 at 06:52

    I’d feel so happy and proud if some other religion happens to refer to the God as “Shiva”or “Ram”or “Ishwar” or “Bhagwan”, or whatever we’ve named Him through the ages; the naming ceremonies having been performed by us the humans(I doubt if any single person or parent had done that!), at certain points of Time, we also have the right to call Him lovingly by whatever of those names we like. Don’t get taken in by the fanatics.

    • 56 scmehta
      January 6, 2010 at 13:59

      Ref my previous comment (above).
      I’m feeling a bit sorry for my immediate, impetuous and emotional outburst; actually any kind of fanaticism and fundamentalism always angers me and evokes a passionate condemnation.
      What I really intended to say was, that, if we really believe in God as an omini-present and omni-potent super power, then it should make no difference in whatever name we choose to give Him/Her; but yes, if we choose to refer to our own apostle/idol/alter/sage/saint/prophet/philosopher as God and call Him/Her by a particular name (real or virtual), then it is a matter of our own or the religion’s choice. However, I do feel that we desperately need to be moderate in our approach or reactions to the others views/choices on the issue of religious beliefs/faith; A flexible approach to any issue is always more enduring, tolerant and lasting than a fanatic or a rigid one.

  39. 57 Ronald Almeida
    January 5, 2010 at 07:25

    In the beginning was the word. And the word was made flesh. There was no God before the word existed. Man first invented the word and then gave it an image.Therefore the name itself is an image in word and speech.

    Those who believe in a superior power cannot fathom its implications.
    Just as a computer programme cannot know the programmer.
    The creation cannot know the creator nor can it be even be aware of it.

    So why bother with all these names and images? Instead of just dealing with that which we do know, beginning with our own individual selves.

  40. January 5, 2010 at 11:09

    I do not believe there is any reason of getting at each other to protect GOD. God is all powerful and is present every where at all times. What I believe is that God allows every human being to choose the path he/she wishes to go, however we shall all give personal account of our deals. So, if anyone chooses to call God by any name, it is theirs to account of it tomorrow, not me. So, I think this matter is very simple if any only if we all belive that God is powerful and will punish those who will not live according to his principles.

  41. 59 Nigel
    January 5, 2010 at 11:51

    Allah is the Arabic for God and Arabic is the native language of Islam as Latin was for Christianity. To use the name Allah in Christian text is to break from what is normal and probably with the intent to blur the line between the two with the sole purpose of winning over more money paying converts from Islam to fundamentalist Christianity by subtuferge. Using the name Allah in Christian text in Muslim countries should be stopped. Are there any bibles using Allah in place of God in use anywhere in the US or Europe?

  42. 60 Dun
    January 5, 2010 at 12:12

    Call it anything. Because really this “God Phenomenon” means different things to different people.
    I personally think God is no being but rather a force, which we experience in different fashions. So each person should be free to call it how he/she likes.

    • January 5, 2010 at 13:04

      In the USA every person has the right to use whatever name he or she chooses because, under its Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, “religion” is not established by law or government at any level (First Amendment) and no “religious” test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust, because in the USA religion is to be voluntary, not imposed by law or coerced by government. What good is religion if it is not voluntary? As one of my professors at the seminary used to say, “God gave us brains to use, not to sit on.” For additional information, see the book The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer.

      • 62 Miriam Hyde
        January 8, 2010 at 23:44

        If only people actually followed that. Everyone who says America is a Christian nation should be deported to another universe.

      • 63 Roger
        January 9, 2010 at 18:39

        I was quite surprised to see that someone who holds a master of divinity degree would suggest that Americans, or anyone else, can call God by whatever name they please. If you studied the names of God in seminary you will remember that God gave much attention to the names He ascribed to Himself. In Old and New Testaments the name of God was taken very seriously. The ancient Jew had great fear of mishandling the name of God. As Christians we do not have the right to call God by any name we choose. We especially do not have the right to ascribe to Him a name that is uniquely and exclusely used by Islam. The God of Christianity and the god of Islam are not the same and should never be viewed as equal. Simon Peter said it best in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other NAME under heaven given AMONG MEN by which we must be saved.” The Bible, not the constitution, is our guide.
        Roger D.Min, D.D., D.D.

  43. 64 Pam
    January 5, 2010 at 13:49

    God, the One and only, says His Name is Jehovah-Savior, Jesus. He has lots of titles: Creator, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Christ, Messiah, Savior. He said there is no other before Him, beside Him, after Him. He is the Self-Existent One. People just make this a problem: man-made doctrines and vain philosophies. To know which “Jesus” is the real “Jesus” find out attributes and who conquered death and the grave. Obey Acts 2:38. God is love and He loves you.

  44. 65 guykaks-nairobi
    January 5, 2010 at 14:18

    Lets get straight and hit the nail on the head.Muslims are so selfish and and only mystify this word Allah!But on the contrary we should allow persons to choose whatever name for god but not GOD..whichever name fits your god does not bother me but Good luck..

  45. 66 claudine
    January 5, 2010 at 14:43

    Firstly I believe there is no god.
    Secondly, if there were a god then how could that god be named? There would be no name for god just a description for reference so that people know who others refer to.
    If there was a god then it would be up to god to say how she or he would want to be named.
    I think people should stop fighting over such minor issues or are we in a kindergarten here?

  46. 67 Kaleemulllah 44
    January 5, 2010 at 15:02

    This is not the issues to be publicized. It is the decision of the court and everybody should welcome and respect the decision of the Court.

  47. 68 anjsha saeed
    January 5, 2010 at 15:08

    in my opinion every one should be free to call his or her GOD whatever they want…
    it is true that everyone is born free but live in chains…so an individual opinion have no importance because its a riligious discusion…

  48. 69 ammara khalid
    January 5, 2010 at 15:20

    As a muslim,we should believe on Allah.Allah gave us many blessing.The biggest blessing is our life.To make our life more enjoyable,he gives many things.Today our pakistan very need to remember Allah.

  49. 70 Kate M.
    January 5, 2010 at 16:25

    For me religion is very personal. What I call God is between me and God. No one else needs to know.

    • January 5, 2010 at 17:45

      @…. guykaka you have just insulted a quarter of the world’s population by calling them selfish. Advice, go to school and learn about islam and please have some muslim neighbours coz i know half of the kenyan population are muslim though statistics say otherwise. About the issue of Allah, i would just say that the term Allah can be used by any religion coz it means GOD.

  50. 72 eSCe
    January 5, 2010 at 16:53

    The malays often refer to God the Almighty as Tuhan , a malay word . Jesus refer to God as Abba , the Father. As a christian ,I ‘m against calling God , ‘Allah’ for reasons stated in this link http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/moongod.htm

  51. 73 John in Salem
    January 5, 2010 at 17:10

    God is ~

    A. An infinite circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. (Book of the 12 Philosophers, 1100 A.D.)

    B. ” …a shout in the street”.(James Joyce, 1922)

    C. “…a concept by which we measure our pain”. (John Lennon, 1972)

    D. “A metaphor for everything that lies beyond all categories of human thought”. (Joseph Campbell, 1984)

    I call myself an atheist because I accept no one else’s definition of divinity – all names are equally meaningless.
    Once you give it a name you have missed the mark.

  52. 74 Christine, Oregon
    January 5, 2010 at 17:15

    I guess they are not truly monotheistic if they believe they have *their* one god who is distinct from other people’s one god.

  53. 75 Faiza Ameen(pakistan)
    January 5, 2010 at 18:31

    WE are the creature of Allah.i think everyperson in d world calls
    her/his ALLAH with different name.i think we can thank to Allah with any respectful name.BECAUSE ALLAH always with us.it is the relation between ALLAH & men.

  54. January 5, 2010 at 19:20

    I dont know what to call the creator of my forebears because I believe he died many years ago from old age.
    The only logical process that makes sense to me is that a race of creatures or beings who developed far in advance of the creatures that existed on earth were able to use their technology to come to earth.They then probably lived amongst those creatures and by using either natural procreation or genetic engineering developed what we call .The Missing Link.
    The various religions that exist today were the attempts to explain the stories over very many generations that were passed down about the visitors.Which has been structured into rituals and scripture.
    This was a normal procedure to explain the frightenning things that happened to the inhabitants .It was the will of sme god.I have considered that those gods may have represented the visitors,but I can only guess about that.
    There are people on earth today who have developed abilities faster than the mass of the current popuations Just in the same way that the sences we possess such as sight etc.developed in some beings than others.
    Each person is his or her own GOD. You can no longer pass your behavior onto somebdy or things outside your self.

  55. 77 Akobi Godwin
    January 5, 2010 at 20:59

    It’s a rediculus thing to hear that such thing is taken to court. I dont see anything wrong in using the name of God interchangebly we all know that we are refering to one God using various names.

  56. January 5, 2010 at 21:42

    when people start looking for trouble, they peg it on something irrational. Malaysian Muslims should come to Nigeria to learn how to call God by many names oblivious of religion or tribe. If they don’t want non Muslims to call Allah, they too should stop mention the name God.

  57. 79 Tan Boon Tee
    January 6, 2010 at 03:45

    What is in a name?

  58. January 6, 2010 at 05:03

    i don’t think that is an issue to be disscussed in any forum, its something personal. I don’t know what we are goin gain from this discussion , nothing i guess. So we need to respect other’s religion and let them respect our religion.

    • 81 Ronald Almeida
      January 6, 2010 at 15:23

      What we can gain from this discussion is to know how idiotic we all are. Something we should have known a long time ago.

  59. January 6, 2010 at 06:57

    “God” is totally a matter of opinion, which is why, in the USA, Congress shall make no law even “respecting” an establishment of religion and there will be no religious test for any public office. The book, The Religion Commandments in the Constitution, is available from Amazon in paperback or kindle–for anyone who wants a better understanding as to the constitutional principle of “separation between Religion and Government,” James Madison, in the USA. Believe what you will, but “God” is an opinion, a religion opinion, and not constitutionally a part of the government of the United States of America. Believe in Zeus if you choose, this is America.

  60. January 6, 2010 at 07:00


    God has many names and one should be allowed or is imperative to permit a person to call God by what ever name that that person is familiar with.

    No one has a monopoly on the name of God.


  61. January 6, 2010 at 10:27

    It won’t be long before followers of the “religion of peace” decide that someone has to pay with his life.

    Reason just does not figure in any of this.

  62. 85 Ronald Almeida
    January 6, 2010 at 10:37

    Reading all the comments on this subject I see no similarity of belief. So how can anyone belong to the same religion or for that matter the same political system like Democracy. Find me a religion or a political system that every individual can belong to, besides ‘Anarchy’ and I’ll eat my hat.

  63. 86 Ronald Almeida
    January 6, 2010 at 10:40

    I call my God, Dog. Has anybody anything against it?

  64. 87 JanB
    January 6, 2010 at 11:43

    This is ridiculous. Malaysia is a fascist state that is used to violating human rights on a daily basis, it’s at least as bad as South Africa once was.
    How any sane person could think religion goes above freedom of speech I just cannot understand…

  65. 88 JanB
    January 6, 2010 at 11:46

    Besides, Allah is just Arabic for “God”, in fact Arabic bibles of Christians in the Middle East use the word Allah to describe God.

  66. January 6, 2010 at 16:15

    The use of Allah by Christians to refer to the creator of the world has to do with the convictions of the believers. God has names in different religions and these names refer to him. In Lebanon, for example, Christian Lebanese use the world Allah in their daily conversation when they are expressing their wishes to one another. But in Church, he is referred to as a “Rab”, which is the Arabic word for God.

    Using a name instead of another is easier. What matters is how Christians and Muslims view one another. They have different teachings, but in essence, they have just one higher being they worship.

  67. 90 Insan Mukmin
    January 7, 2010 at 00:33

    It is plain obvious that the use of Allah is for proselytisation reasons. The word Allah is not of common use amongst Christians. In fact, the Christians taking the issue to court do not even the word Allah themselves but are suing for the right of Malay Christians to do so. Why are you demanding the right of Christians to use the word Allah, when as a Christian, you do not use the word Allah yourself? How many Christians on this forum pray to Allah? However, ALL Muslims use the word Allah. Whatever language you speak, if you are a Muslim, you pray to Allah.

    • 91 net
      January 8, 2010 at 14:03

      i understand that you yourself have never been before to an Arab country. As Christians in Arab countries e.g. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc…., all use the word Allah for God, as it simply means God in their language. As both religions derive from an area where the Arab language is common, it is absolutely normal that some of the Arab language has been taking over trough trade in countries like Malaysia or Indonesia. And thus is the word Allah used for the word God by people in your country or in Indonesia. And how terrible that is Isan. Well, to you and some others. I think God is happy enough that that are still so many people calling his name, wether it is Allah, Jaweh, Ram, God or Elah.

  68. 92 Fazeela from Trinidad
    January 7, 2010 at 14:53

    Many people are suffering hardship in this world through no fault of their own. Some Muslims are killing Muslims, some Muslims are killing innocent people. The Muslim world is in turmoil, its young people are being brainwashed by mad mullahs yet some Muslims prefer to direct their energies to cartoons, teddy bears and the matter under discussion. As a Caribbean Muslim I am disgusted at the attention Muslims in other parts of the world pay to insignificant matters.

    And btw, Allah was used by Arabs before the Prophet Muhammad (UWBP) was born as is recorded in Islamic history.

  69. 93 JanB
    January 7, 2010 at 16:38

    @Insan Mukmin

    Even if it were for proselytisation only, what difference would that make? Am I correct in saying Malaysian Muslims are free to use the word “God”, how would that not be meant for proselytisation, why the hypocrisy?
    Are you not aware that lots of Arabic Christians (some of whom live in Malaysia) do use the word Allah and that the Christian and Muslim Gods are the same?
    Though I guess, all of the above doesn’t even matter because Malaysia claims to be a democracy (which it currently isn’t) and a democracy guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion (in a normal democracy you’d have to scientifically prove God/Allah exists and his name is God/Allah before you could get a court order banning the use of a certain name, obviously this is impossible.)

  70. 94 A R Shams
    January 7, 2010 at 17:22

    According to Islam, so far I know, when someone’s name is ABDUL RAHIM that means ‘the slave of Allah’ and simply RAHIM itself means ALLAH. Whereas, some others call someone RAM and define errorously that RAM and RAHIM both are the one and the same but its in no way like that.

    Similarly, God, Allah, Bhagwan or else communicates quite differernt meanings.

  71. 95 Bloggins
    January 7, 2010 at 20:59

    I think this question is sadly a reflection of the increasingly pluralistic world we live in as regards our spiritual desires and aspirations. This is particularly so in the more affluent West where people have so much more than they need they do not know they need God. Hence we have the whole range of Religions plus such things as Atheism, Agnostics, Secularism, Consumerism and Football. So, basically, whatever we call our god is totally O.K. and if we join with others in any kind of Church and there are sufficient numbers we can make representations to our respective political leaders/ governments to have the name we use for our god recognised as the official name for god.

    However, surely the more important issue is whether God knows us – personally by name.

  72. 96 Rudi Affolter
    January 7, 2010 at 23:51

    As an athiest I wonder what all the fuss is about? IF there was a god there could only be one god whoever he or she was. All this stuff and nonsense about different peopl’es superstition’s and claiming that their god is the one true god just goes to show why there is so much trouble in the world. Until people get over their immature belief in fairy stories and start to listen to science and scientists ears and murder will be without end. Just grow up.

  73. 97 Insan Mukmin
    January 8, 2010 at 08:53

    The problem is Muslims feel they are under threat. Christians demand the right to use the word Allah. This demand is mischievous. Why not use the word for God in the Aramaic language which is the language spoken by Jesus Christ? The Aramaic God is Elah. It is nearly similiar to Allah. How about that – use Elah instead of Allah since that is what Jesus Christ used. Or are Christians only interested in converting Muslims to Christianity?

  74. 98 Momoh.J in NIG
    January 8, 2010 at 10:48

    hello WHYS i think malaysia government need to educate the people of that country

  75. 99 Paul
    January 8, 2010 at 11:07

    I am a Peranakan Chinese. I was brought up as a Catholic. We speak Malay as our mother tongue. Malay has lots of words borrowed from Arabic, including the word ‘Allah’ which is the word for God. In the old days, Malay was even written in Arabic script which we called Jawi.

    When my grandparents were alive, they always referred to God as Allah even though they were Catholic, because they were speaking in Malay. It was so ingrained in them that they referred to God as Allah even when they spoke in Chinese. In the Malay translation of the Bible, God is referred to as Allah because that is the word the Catholic peranakans have always used for God. Similarly, Allah is also used in the Arabic translations of the bible. This is not as Insan Mukmin claims a devious attempt to proselytise or subvert Islam. Catholics do not go around trying to convert Malay muslims.

    For over a hundred years, there has not been a problem with Catholics using the word Allah in referring to God. The muslims I grew up with were the most easy-going and the most tolerant people I have ever met. I would trust them more than I would trust a Chinese, even a Christian Chinese. This new found zealotry only came about with the rise of a bullying form of Islam that is spreading out of Saudi, aided by all their petrodollars. This Wahhabi-driven hatred of all things different from it’s own narrow and hate-filled interpretation of faith is what is causing trouble all over the world and sadly it is now showing up in this corner of the world as well.

    Even the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Badawi, who majored in Islamic Studies, made clear that Christians have been using the word Allah to refer to God for hundreds of years, since well before the advent of Islam, before even the birth of the Prophet Mohammad. What we have now are ignorant muslims with little knowledge of history or tradition, caught up in religious fervour and hate, (much of which was inflamed by that cretin Bush and his silly crusades), trying to impose their own bullying views on all segments of society, which they insist must be remade as a Southeast Asian Saudi Arabia.

    • 100 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
      January 8, 2010 at 18:52

      Thank you, Paul, for a very informative post about the place of the word “Allah” in the Malay language, and for pointing out the role of Wahhabi Islam in inciting hatred.

    • 101 Scott Brown
      January 8, 2010 at 20:57

      Paul, great informative post. thanks a lot


  76. January 8, 2010 at 11:17

    Racia tolerance and religious harmony have been Malaysia’s biggest asset. The country has always prided itself on the multi-racial and multireligious tapestry which weaved the different races together. Let us hope and pray that die-hard elements do not take the law into their own hands and destroy what has been built up for decades. This is a defining moment nevertheless! Torching churches will send very wrong signals!

  77. 103 Patrick Agbobu
    January 8, 2010 at 12:12

    Religion is divisive and very political. All the problems the world is facing are routed in religion. If we are all serving the same Almighty God, why all the problems? I believe that several roads if not all roads, lead to The Almighty God and this is the reality. The idea, notion or belief that, only a particular road leads to, The Almighrty God is bolony. This is the reason why I am not a religious person, but I believe that there is The Almighty God, the Creator and maker of all things, seen and unseen, imagined or unimagined, known and unknown. I also believe that, if you love your neigbour, as you love yourself and do unto others, as you wish them do to you, then you are doing the will of The Almighty God and you do not need any religion.

  78. 104 Mohammed Ali
    January 8, 2010 at 12:47

    I had thought that by christians using Allah would mean victory for the muslims. It is really silly that some brainwahsed muslims in Malaysia will want to personalize Allah for themselves while the Qu’ran itself preaches the conversion of non-muslims to Islam.

  79. 105 piscator
    January 8, 2010 at 13:11

    If the government of a modern state with three main religions is stepping in to support just one of them, then they should be condemned for religious discrimination. It’s one thing when a believer puts their views, it’s quite another when a government falsely wrapping itself in the flag of multiculturalism does so.

    Tha tis the important thing about this debate – not what you name your God.

  80. 106 dan
    January 8, 2010 at 14:06

    Your comment reveals the darkness Islam has placed itself into and increases the divides between the great monotheistic religions of the world and Islam.
    The Koran does indeed refer to Christians and Jews as “People of the Book” but it is not up to you or any individual to judge the orthodoxy of that individual Christian or Jew nor is it stated anywhere about contemporary Christians or Jews.
    FYI, there are no “improved” holy books.
    However, let me point out that the seminal problem with radical Islam today is precisely the unwillingness or inability to be relevant to contemporary times and must resort to violence to acheive its 7th century goals.
    Do you for one minute believe that God (Allah) never intended us to progress and become greater than ourselves with each passing generation?
    How we address God is less important than how we live up to God’s expectations of us as He clearly outlined to us. How can you not agree with that?

  81. 107 michael
    January 8, 2010 at 14:33

    Allah is derived from Arabic language, If i were to rule i would have asked the Muslims whether to be a Muslim one needs to understand Arabic and to the Christians i would ask whether they were creating a conflict with the Muslims since its for the first time am hearing of a christian denomination referring to God as Allah while in their books theri’s not even a single verse or word going by the name Allah,

  82. 108 KevinPE
    January 8, 2010 at 14:50

    There are days I really think that if the people of this planet were to choke on CO2 or drown from monstrous sea levels or better yet blasted from a massive asteroid strike, the angles in heaven would celebrate. Homo sapiens, it appears are the biggest mistake ever created or evolved or whatever. When we begin to act with violence because somebody else is using “your” name, perhaps it would be better to leave the earth to the cockroaches and ants – at least they have some sort of purpose.

  83. 109 Muhammad Usman Amjad
    January 8, 2010 at 16:21

    I am from Paksitan and I am Muslim. I think God is a very broad word. Any person who believes in somebody or something to have link with his life’s operations and who believes that something or somebody is controlling his destiny calls that entity as God. In Islam, Muslims refer to that entity as Allah. Other religions have different gods. They have non- living gods, living gods and other religions have multiple gods with both genders. While, Muslims have only one God that is Allah. Allah is singular and is one. He has no partner.

  84. January 8, 2010 at 16:22

    Here we go again, religion causing controversy, violence as it has always done since it’s birth. Is this about a name or one religious group of followers trying to impose their will and religious beliefs on another. Whatever name you use for whom you believe to be the birth of religion and mankind is for you to decide. If the word GOD suits your purpose then so be it, if ALLAH is preferred then so be it, in fact the biggest reference to this mythical person is the ALMIGHTY so why not just use that. Each religions bible, holy book has determined what the ALMIGHTY should be called depending on their language and it is the zealots and fanatics who have strived to doctrinate others to accept their version of a name. I am sure that GOD, ALLAH, THE ALMIGHTY has no concern as to what he is called only that they follow his teachings one of which is peace to all men on earth, not war, starvation, religious killings all supposed in his name. The Bible, Koran was written by humans supposedly recording the dictates of this man but, at the end of the day it is their interpretation and one wonders if not what they wanted religion to be because, lets be honest there is no way to challenge these writings as no one is alive from when they were written. I believe there is an ALMIGHTY but I do not accept everything written is fact.

  85. 111 Chanje
    January 8, 2010 at 16:43

    Just shows how pathetic we humans can be!! Violence? For calling the creator what one wants to them/it/her/him? In one’s own language? Whose business is it if I want to call God, Gud, Allah, Jah, Yaweh, Jehovah, Mungu, Mulungu…the list is endless??? It is still the same God aint it? Just different languages. I believe no language or religion is … See Moresuperior to the other! Everyone should have the right to call God what they like…after all we all experience him/her differently don’t we? And most religions (maybe all) share the same fundamental values…love being one of them!!
    Cripes!!! We can be so primitive sometimes!!!

  86. 112 gary
    January 8, 2010 at 16:56

    The Malaysian dispute concerning naming rights to God is illustrative of a core problem for many of the faithful in Christianity and in Islam, namely, the thought that the Supreme Being needs defenders or indeed has any needs whatsoever! An all powerful, omniscient Being is not in need of assistance. Any human demand or condition implying a Godly “need” is thus blasphemy. The fire bombers display not reverence or zeal, but a paucity of faith.

  87. 113 Malc Dow
    January 8, 2010 at 17:12

    Religion should be banned! Given that there is no ‘god’, religion causes a lot of antisocial behavior!

  88. 114 T
    January 8, 2010 at 17:13

    If a non-Muslim wants to use the world Allah, why are they doing it?:

    Is it because they’re trying to be respectul?
    Is it because they’re thinking about possibly converting?
    Is it because they’re really trying to convert a Muslim?

    If this happens, Muslims have a right to be concerned. However, they DON’T have a right to use violence. Doesn’t that go against the core teachings of Islam?

  89. 115 Andrew in Australia
    January 8, 2010 at 17:20

    This all assumes that there actually is a God….

    If in doubt, then ask Him and see what reply you get as to whether He minds or not!

  90. 116 Jim (USA)
    January 8, 2010 at 17:25

    Mecca is a pagan worship site. Allah is an arabic word that has been used to refer to pagan gods at mecca before there was islam. Anyone who attacks and burns people for things they say is evil and will not get any rewards if there is an afterlife.

  91. 117 Andrew in Australia
    January 8, 2010 at 17:25

    So the response by Muslims is to burn down churches in Malaysia.

    I can see how this is justified and how this would not give the impression that Islam is a religion with followers who are solely intent on overreacting and destruction especially towards those not of their faith nor that Muslims are not an agressive bunch of fanatics!

    To those who say that Islam is not like that or that those Muslims are not representative of followers I say, they ARE part of your group and they DO act in your name. As such, outsiders must inevitably come to such conclusions about Islam.

  92. January 8, 2010 at 17:28

    It’s simple… Check out the history of the word…The term was also used by pagan Meccans…this is a pre Islamic word for a Creator…and torching anothers place of worship is wrong and is even stated in the Koran to be wrong.

  93. 120 Miriam Hyde
    January 8, 2010 at 17:28

    This is one reason I don’t believe in religion. I refuse to believe there is only one correct one and only their God (or Gods), and everyone who doesn’t believe in that religion be damned.

    To me, a “God” should be an example of how we should live. Love each other; be kind; take care of. It is people who give God a bad name, whatever that name is.

    Live that, and stop worrying what the words are.

  94. 121 Denise in Chicago
    January 8, 2010 at 17:32

    Yet another example of Islamists over-reacting to perceived slights.

  95. 122 Miriam Hyde
    January 8, 2010 at 17:39

    Oh yeah, I’m Jewish. Jews don’t even refer to God by a name.

    We use substitutes, such as different forms of “Adon” (Lord), or Elohim (both a plural (angels, gos, rulers) and and plural intensive, meaning a singular god or goddess.

    The only time the “name” of God is uttered is in a religious service.

    I always thought it was odd that in the 10 Commandments it says, “I am your God and you shall have no other gods before me”. Doesn’t that imply there are other gods?

  96. 123 Tracy in Portland,OR
    January 8, 2010 at 17:41

    Oh you have to be kidding me. Are we so hard up this is the best we can find to argue about. Is this how petty they feel their Lord is, that he should take offense at being called Allah by non Muslims. Shame on them. It is just a word and as such completely inadequate to sum up the being that it represents. If anything I would think that if Christians use Allah the are expressing it is a better description than the word God. Perhapse Muslims should view it as an admition of their choice in terminology as superior. Now if you could just get us to pray quietly, with praise and reverence like you do. I would find that far superior to the babbling, sobbing and ranting of say televangelist. For your donation salvation is yours Amen just dial 1-800……

  97. 124 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 8, 2010 at 17:50

    Didn’t anyone LISTEN to the BBCWS news analysis on how Malaysian Christians came to use the term “Allah” in the first place? The term came into use long ago, when different linquistic, cultural and religious communities were coming into contact in the area, borrowing words from one language to another as always happens during such contact. Allah was simply the lingua franca term for a monotheistic god.

    Muslim objections to others using the term Allah are recent, and go hand in hand with increasing Muslim extremism and intolerance of other religions and cultures.

    Call “Him” whatever you want. “His” radical and intolerant followers have a lot to answer for.

  98. 125 Frank in the USA
    January 8, 2010 at 17:58

    In the 21st century, Muslims are the only ones left who believe that there’s no problem, no matter how small or trivial, that can’t be cured by violence.

  99. 126 Tony from Singapura
    January 8, 2010 at 18:12

    At the surface it should be a simple matter of language.. While Allah is an Arabic word, it is used in the Malay language to mean God.

    So if a person is speaking in the English language they should use the word “God”, if the person is speaking in Malay they should use the word “Allah”. This should apply no matter what is the religion of the speaker.

    However there are racial undertones around this issue and the Malaysian Government is very concerned about racial harmony – racial riots have happened in recent history in Malaysia and in living memory in Singapore, there is a real danger that trouble is brewing.

    This is why the Malaysian police will be cracking down on any protests or unrest very quickly.

    I am a bit concerned about where this issue is going, Malaysia cant afford to have racial troubles, it will damage their economy and this will have some effect here in Singapore.

  100. 127 Gary Paudler
    January 8, 2010 at 18:15

    Who? Sure, it’s a concept made-up by people who were no more qualified or authorized than you or I so why not? The problem is that the concept was invented as a means of asserting control so any deviation from that control must be suppressed.

  101. 128 steve
    January 8, 2010 at 18:30

    It really seems like nonmuslims have to walk on eggshells around muslims or else there is a violent reaction. Is this really the way we’re going to live for the rest of time, or is it time that Islam has its reformation so their societies become more secular?

  102. 129 chinaski in LA
    January 8, 2010 at 18:31

    Thumbs down for the moderators of this blog. Big thumbs down.

  103. 130 Will, British Columbia
    January 8, 2010 at 18:31

    Thank ‘God’ I live in a secular society, just believe in what you want to believe and mind your own buisness, I’m pretty sure that whomever your God is or God by any other name, they wouldn’t encourage violence and bloodshed in the name of semantics

  104. 131 Jerry L
    January 8, 2010 at 18:31

    These protests are just another prime example of the ignorance, intolerance, and hypocrisy fostered and promulgated by organized religions and the world media just seems to sit by and make matters worse.

  105. 132 amnaturelle
    January 8, 2010 at 18:49

    Why don’t we just ask “God” what he/she wants to be called?

  106. 133 Tom D Ford
    January 8, 2010 at 18:54

    “Should you be able to call your God whatever you want?”

    Sure, why not? Mankind created and developed “God” in many different forms, so why shouldn’t mankind choose whatever name or names for those “Gods”.

    The extreme silliness of religionists never ceases to amaze me. I just wish they could all laugh at themselves, that they could see themselves as I see them.

    Let’s revive and continue the debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, that was a real fun one wasn’t it?

    Or how about the buying and selling of indulgences?

    If you are going to create a “God” you really ought to name it so that you can market it better, shouldn’t you?

    And how about some “God” action figures, there are so many different “gods” warring with each other, you could make a huge amount of money selling to collectors wanting the complete “Gods” action figure collection. Branding your “God” product is very important, because so much money can be made, just look at any religion in the world, they are very profitable!

    Ye Gods, what silliness!

    • 134 Donnamarie in Switzerland
      January 8, 2010 at 20:36

      Tom D. Ford, that’s really what it all finally boils down to in the end. As for me, I’m happy to let anyone call any god by any name just as long as they leave me out of it.

  107. 135 Fiona
    January 8, 2010 at 19:03

    The word al-Lah means “God” and I don’t see why a Muslim would be upset about the use of it by a Christian. If al-Lah is to be reserved for the “Muslim God” it implies God has a name of his own. Something which is strictly forbidden in Islam because God isn’t perceived as a human or a creature which can be named or portrayed. I’m surprised to hear about this case.

  108. 136 Adeyemi Adebayo Victor
    January 8, 2010 at 19:06

    we rant over what God should be called and yet we mess up our hearts and pretend to be closer to HIM……no one has seen God till date but we all behave as though He was in us when we know so well that we don’t deserve Him.

  109. 137 steve/oregon
    January 8, 2010 at 19:07

    why was my last comment not posted? this question should not even be posed as we are in the 21st century, and we need to let go of acient belief structures in supernatural beings (that do not exsist) regardless of what name they call there flying spagetti monster in the sky. Or does the BBC think that athiest don’t deserve a voice in this discussion.

  110. 138 David
    January 8, 2010 at 19:11

    YES freedom of religion applies to any entity of the promotion of religion. In this case I think it again proves that Muslim people can be their own worst enemies. I am not a religious person, but if I were in the market for one I would search for one that first of all promotes PEACE and UNDERSTANDING. I do realize that most Islamic people are both of these things, but the overall image of Islam is being harmed by such views and violence. Violence is never the answer, even in the presence of injustice.

  111. 139 Robert
    January 8, 2010 at 19:17

    Copyright on “Allah”:

    Yet another example of islamic intolerance and stupidity. Any statement, work of art, piece of legislation or indeed any human activity that can be by any stretch of the imagination be construed as offensive to islam by islamists is used by the islamic hordes as an excuse to riot, kill, rape, blow up planes, etc.

    What next ?

  112. 140 Jennifer
    January 8, 2010 at 19:19

    Re: Churches being torched

    What a sad violent outburst. So much for tolerance.

  113. 141 Dave Mwangi
    January 8, 2010 at 19:20

    The Malasyia Muslims are looking for a reason to attack Christian churches. The issue of the name ‘Allah’ is just a smoke screen.

    I am aware that Koran is not translated into other languages so there is a perception probably because of ignorance that Allah used by other people makes Allah less. This is not the case, Allah is the arabic name of God and not the Muslim God only.

  114. January 8, 2010 at 19:22

    It is indeed absurd to claim exclusivity for the name of God as (Allah), Allah is it not arabic? it is not just language?… I am a muslim and I am from Nigeria as you all know Nigeria have the must irrational set of people, in Nigeria the way you laugh can spark riot in some places. But even in Nigeria such will not bring riot.
    Ihas Idriess,

  115. 143 Carole in OR
    January 8, 2010 at 19:22

    I am Christian, when I pray to God only he knows what I call him. I think the real issue here is that we are looking for ways to separate ourselves rather than respect our unifying qualities. I recognize that I am praying to the same God that Muslims do, and I have faith that in their hearts I hope they honor that belief.

  116. January 8, 2010 at 19:23

    God is the nature of life and has been taken from human kind and put on a pedestal that is too far to reach. For what reasons but simply to make human kind subordinate and submissive to some authority and hierarchy.

    Civilization has been built upon the misfortunes and mortality of a people.. Human beings are made a lesser being.

    Science look to the stars for other beings and can not grasp that they are lesser beings that what they allow their selves the awareness of what they are and how existence comes to be. Denied to their selves and cultivated to think in ways that ensure their exploitation, they are ambiguous to reality.

    Their Gods are their selves. Their whole world has built on superstitions and frightful nightmares and taboos that close their mind to their self worth and esteem.

    There are beings that understand this and human kind is seen a savage self destructive entity. Their nature is subverted from their infancy, given impossibilities in place their very ability they possess above the world and it’s creation.

  117. 145 Tom D Ford
    January 8, 2010 at 19:23

    “Should you be able to call your God whatever you want?”

    Every religion probably ought to create itself as a Corporation and register their “God” name and logo. Then the WTO would protect it from infringement by any other religious Corporation. The “God” business is a big moneymaker and ought to be recognized by the Free Market proponents.

    Hmm, then they could sell stocks and also sell franchises to small local “God” businessmen and women.

    That would make ultimate ironic sense because they are both imaginary beings, one as a supernatural being and the other as a piece of paper with the legal rights of an actual “person”. Well, OK, the “Free Market” is imaginary too, just like the mythological Unicorn.

    The “God Corporation”. Boy does that fit exactly.

  118. 146 Nathan
    January 8, 2010 at 19:25

    This reminds me of the insanity that ensued over the Dutch cartoons of Mohammed – but this is much worse. There, they were attacking freedom of speech; here they are attacking not only freedom of speech but freedom of language.

  119. January 8, 2010 at 19:26

    When i was living in Malaysia I was having a philosophical discussion with my Hindu friend who was in the Malay Air force, he also referred to God as Allah.. which he said just means “God”.
    The argument that “it could be used by Christians to convert Muslims” is so silly.. is it at least equally likely that it would be used by Muslims to convert Hindus? “You are already using the right name of god now you just have to switch your practice”! If i was a Muslim i would consider it flattery that another tradition is using the name of our God! But the common response in much of that world is when your bewildered or confused, don’t know what to think… just get angry, violent.. with out considering the whole range of possible human emotional responses.
    If Christians started calling God Krishna.. i would be consider it a beautiful way of showing respect. However if Muslims started using the name of Krishna to justify suicide bombings.. i wish they would stick to Allah.. but considering the close mindedness in that tradition.. i think thats very unlikely that Muslims will be calling Sri Krishna from their minarets.
    For world peace it might be a good idea if ever religion switched names with every other religion every year or so.. as a sign of unity and respect to all other religions people around the world.

    (in Boston MA.)

  120. 148 A.J.
    January 8, 2010 at 19:26

    God is God. Allah is one name for God. Everyone on this program is using the word “God” and that is the word used by Christians and English speaking people. Should THAT name use be banned for non-christians? NO. God is God. What the world needs is ONE word for God that ALL people use. Perhaps that simple act would bring religious people of the whole world together once and for all.

  121. 149 eSCe
    January 8, 2010 at 19:26

    This is a cover for the half bake muslims in UMNO the malay party to once again whip out racial and religious sentiment to further their agenda to enhance economic advantage for malays and muslims to enrich themselves the malay elites while the poor malays do not share such advantages. The Islamic party PAS is not a party to the hoo-hah. Even al Qaeda never objected.

  122. 150 StGermain
    January 8, 2010 at 19:28

    Why is it, that whenever Muslim’s are “angered” by anything,
    the result is physical violence. Muslim scholars keep promoting
    Islam as a religion of peace. However, it seems that the message
    hasn’t reached these millions that go out and work hard to prove

    OnAir, you hear an Islamic scholar correctly explain that anyone
    that can read and UNDERSTAND the Q’uran explain: “Allah” is
    the word for God. The Q’uran acknowledges that God is God
    within the Abrahamic Trinity: (in chronological order) Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam.

    That being said, it’s so hard for me to understand how we can
    be in 2010 and still unable to be an even remotely tolerant world
    and accepting of each other. This story further proves the point
    that nothing will mess you up like religion – it’s easier to get off
    drugs than “God”. Chill People – Chill.

  123. 151 Jay
    January 8, 2010 at 19:29

    This is disturbing news, why musilman in world are not capable to adjust themselves to civilize people?
    All issues in the world it’s about Islam, first it’s was about the caricature now you can not even pronounce the name of Allah.
    Now, if we said Muslim are terrorist and trying to disturbs peace in world, some people will say it’s discriminatory.

  124. January 8, 2010 at 19:32

    ‘Allah’ is in fact the very term which was used by the Meccans to refer to God before the advent of Islam. Islam only adopted it. If Islam could adopt a term used by non-Muslims of the seventh century then why cannot any other community refer to God by this very name today? Therefore, the claim of the Malaysians that only Muslims should use the term is not only unIslamic but is irrational.

    Sadia Khan

    New Delhi, India

  125. 153 Malaria Max
    January 8, 2010 at 19:32

    I am an atheist but i was brought up the Catholic way. I am on nobody’s side but here is what i think.

    3 isolated cases of church arson by a few bad apples is no cause for panic. Church and catholic graveyard vandalism has been rampant ever since forever but gone unnoticed by the media. The media thrives on the current drama, dont be fooled. The catholics however, need to reconsider their stance.

    If the catholics were wise people who think with their brains, they should opt for an alternative word for the happiness of all and peace. This is what passive Jesus would have done, not going to a court to debate over something so trivial.

    I see deaf people at church services who have no need for human words in their worship of god. God is in our actions and thoughts. Words are merely secondary.

    The institutions of Christians and Catholics of today have nothing of Jesus in their actions.

  126. 154 Claude
    January 8, 2010 at 19:34

    This debate reminds me of the ridiculous arguements over the number of angels that fit on the head of a pin. Do you really think God really cares about this minutia, especially in the context of the horrors humanity inflicts upon itself?

  127. 155 lukos hey
    January 8, 2010 at 19:36

    if it was such a divine name or word then why is there so much confusion about it.

  128. 156 Eric Ngandu
    January 8, 2010 at 19:37

    Am really interested in this topic as it is vital. Am a christian living in zambia and i’d like to disagree with other blogers that say even christians can call God, Allah, it is simply a show of lack of faith. In the holy bible there is no scripture that refers to God as allah but Jehovah and Jesus

  129. 157 Tom D Ford
    January 8, 2010 at 19:40

    @ Jennifer
    January 8, 2010 at 19:19

    “Re: Churches being torched”

    “What a sad violent outburst. So much for tolerance.”

    Yeah right, just like the Conservative Christian Republican President Bush declaring a New Crusades and going to war against Iraq. That is real tolerant isn’t it?

    Or how about the owner of “Xie” (sp?), formerly “Blackwater”, Eric Prince, allegedly telling his employees to go “Night Hunting” wearing night vision goggles in his private helicopters flying at night in Iraq and just shooting innocent Iraqis randomly in the dark because he hates Muslims so much? That was reported on Fresh Air recently by a reporter who investigates Eric Prince and his companies.

    So much for tolerance indeed!

    I am so disgusted by religion and religionists that WHYS cannot publish my names for “God”.

  130. 159 thomas
    January 8, 2010 at 19:40

    i am feed up with all these hypersensitive discussion about religion, especially islam. leave them – and me alone!

  131. 160 yang
    January 8, 2010 at 19:41

    Muslim is a much younger religion than Christian. If ayone is to ban the use of Allah, shouldnt it be Christian since Christian would have use Allah first?

    Imagine Mcdonald ban other fastfood chains from using the word “burger”.

  132. 161 Lapog
    January 8, 2010 at 19:42

    The conversion angle is correct. The idea is “conversion by appropriation”, just look at what the so-called christians have done in India. The poor Hindus thought it was ‘gracious’ of christians to use the word Ishwara (Shiva)!

  133. 162 Bumbana
    January 8, 2010 at 19:42

    I really think we’re debating the wrong issue. I believe that Malaysia is only doing so because it doesn’t want any confusion between the Gods of different religions. A kid growing up between different religions who’s been told that Allah says one thing while someone else from a different religion says that Allah should do this instead will confuse the kid since there’s not distinction between the different religions thus diverting from Islam or adopting the different rules thinking that they were all right. I think Malaysia being a Muslim country, doesn’t want it’s kids to grow up in confusion when their Christian counterparts or of other religions for that matter of fact referring to the same God but with different rules…

  134. 163 Alan in Arizona
    January 8, 2010 at 19:43

    It shouldn’t matter what name you use, as long is it is respectful!

  135. 164 Edward Hubbard
    January 8, 2010 at 19:45

    I have been listening to this debate with mounting frustration for more than forty minutes. I still haven’t the faintest idea what these Malaysian Muslims are objecting to. Can’t you get one of them on the programme to explain what this is all about?

  136. 165 nick from portland
    January 8, 2010 at 19:45

    Why are you even bringing attention to this childish argument?? Is this just another case of Muslims fighting just to fight. The reality is that all gods are just as real as the tooth fairy, santa claus and the easter bunny. who cares what you call your god. You all remind me of superstitious natives who dont take science into account. You are all kooks. I have never heard of a group of athiests, or scientists starting a war, or suicide bombing, or hijacking. drop all of these petty arguments please. Muslims, chistians, catholics, you are all equally guilty of ignorance, and brain washing as well as much worse. get real!!!

  137. January 8, 2010 at 19:46

    The problem is; when a culture uses a religion as a crutch! Islam has become to intertwined with Arabic or Middle-eastern culture and government policy and practice. Now we see why seperation of church and state is so important. A similar situation has evolved in the southern United States and christianity, where evangelical christians have tried since the Civil War to combine religion and culture and govermental policy.

  138. 167 Phyllis, (WGCU) Florida
    January 8, 2010 at 19:47

    I am a Catholic who was married to a Malay living in Malaysia for many years and never experienced any problem following my religion. As a matter of fact, I think the people of Malaysia have generally respected each other in religious matters.
    To the people in Malaysia, I would like to know exactly who is driving this conflict , ON BOTH SIDES ??

  139. 168 Elias
    January 8, 2010 at 19:48

    In the interests of freedom of thought and expression, “MOST CERTAINLY”.

  140. 169 Sky
    January 8, 2010 at 19:48

    The caller who claims that God ordered Christians to call him God is mistaken. God never told Christians to call him God; He simply said, “I am that I am.”

  141. 170 JanB
    January 8, 2010 at 19:48

    “Eric Ngandu
    January 8, 2010 at 19:37

    Am really interested in this topic as it is vital. Am a christian living in zambia and i’d like to disagree with other blogers that say even christians can call God, Allah, it is simply a show of lack of faith. In the holy bible there is no scripture that refers to God as allah but Jehovah and Jesus”

    It depends on the language: in an English bible you will find the word “God”, in a French bible it will be “Dieu” and in an Arabic bible it will be “Allah”, got it?

  142. 171 Brittany
    January 8, 2010 at 19:48

    Just to clarify what the speakers mean by “proper name of God”: the word lah is god with a lowercase “g” – any god. “Al” means “the”, thus “al-lah” means “The God”. Allah is God as a proper noun because Arabic does not have capital or lowercase letters. Therefore, the phrase “there is no god but Allah” has been mistranslated. It is more literally, and more clearly, “there is no god (lowercase) but God (proper noun).” It is a declaration of monotheism, not a case for one god over another.

  143. 172 Shahab Ehtesham
    January 8, 2010 at 19:49

    Muslims have 99 names for God, how many are they going to ban?

  144. 173 Shtefan
    January 8, 2010 at 19:51

    If Muslims ban calling other Gods Allah they are obviously short-sighted

  145. 174 Michael Colyer
    January 8, 2010 at 19:53

    The question does not answer the question as the world sees it. To the world of Muslim people Allah is meant to mean their god and if Christians use God, Muslim’s see it as someone not of their god. Lets call it as it is.

    I would be glad to go on if you want to…just e-mail

  146. 175 Tom D Ford
    January 8, 2010 at 19:53

    That caller from New Zealand is/was very interesting about the history of the word.

  147. 176 Nancy
    January 8, 2010 at 19:53

    Islam is not the only religion that has a group or several groups that say theirs is the only correct and true interpretation of their particular belief system. This seems to be just one more reason for a group, not all, to express persecution as an excuse to be violent. I believe that religion is what we believe becasue we have to believe there is something after the body dies. Fighting over whose practices or beliefs are actually going to get anyone there in the best possible light surely would not impress who/whatever is in charge of the afterlife.

  148. 177 Joseph Byrne Tossou
    January 8, 2010 at 19:56

    I really think the Christians in Malaysia were a bit manipulative with printing the bible and trying to replace God with the name ALLAH in the Bible. Since when did Christian start calling God Allah in the Bible. They are just to preach the word of Truth and leave people to make their mind up themselves. I am a staunch Bible Christian, but I think what they doing replacing God with Allah sounds very manipulative. I do not agree with the Muslims going to touch the churches, probably one can understand their grievance though.

    • 178 Andrew C
      January 8, 2010 at 21:32

      @Joseph B Tossou
      in case you are not aware, Joseph, Christians in Malaysia do not speak English but as a foreign language, so they did not REPLACE God with Allah, since God is not called God to start with.

  149. 179 stephen/portland
    January 8, 2010 at 19:56

    I love this kind of question, it distracts religious people from telling the rest of what to think for an hour!

  150. 180 ignasio kambale
    January 8, 2010 at 19:57

    There are different religions in this world and it is of course possible that we below to one of them, therefore we must call God the name we want to call him in our diferent religion. So let the malay call God the name they want..

  151. January 8, 2010 at 19:58

    It is no one’s business what word I use to refer to God. I can say this because, in my country, I have the freedom to say what I want.

    I cannot imagine what it must be like to live under the pressing thumb of the Malaysian government. Can we not discuss this subject some time? It seems to me that the underlying problem is the issue of control over, and this issue is another way by which the Malaysian government is attempting to further oppress your people.

  152. 182 JanB
    January 8, 2010 at 20:00

    “Since when did Christian start calling God Allah in the Bible.”

    Since before Muhammed was born, and you could have known that if you read some of the posts here, or even the BBC article.
    Get your facts straight before you accuse people.

  153. 183 viola
    January 8, 2010 at 20:08

    Anyone who objects to anyone using Allah instead of God is really anxious to start a fight. It would be nice if people would try harder to understand what their own religion is striving so hard to teach them. Don’t be so literal, folks. Please!

    If you insist on hanging on to your self-righteous indignation, fear, anger, and lack of understanding, nobody except fools are going to admire you.

    Here’s a quote I like: “Anger is the great mind killer.”

  154. January 8, 2010 at 20:08

    It is clear that this is part of the “clash of culture’ that professor Huntington spoke about. The use of the Islamic name of God by Christians is part of a conversion strategy so common in the exclusivist faiths of the Abrahamic tradition. Why else would a Christian group use a non christian term for God if not merely to dupe the unsuspecting in a conversion attempt. This strategy is happening in India, South America and other places where there are still the unconverted.

    Here in Trinidad we had to take the government to the Privy Council in the UK to remove christian symbol as the national award….my organization had to go to court for that change… The response in Trinidad and the UK from Christians is worth noting.

    • 185 Piers Crocker
      January 9, 2010 at 11:01

      Muslims claim that Allah inspired/sent down/revealed the Torah, Mizamir and Injil (Essentially the Judaeo-Christian Bible), since these are defined as “Allah’s Books” in Islam. Doesn’t that make Allah the God of the Christians too? Otherwise, logically, we have to conclude that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. If Christians are using the name of Allah for the God of the Bible as a strategy to convert Muslims, Muslims are also using the same strategy to convince Christians that the Quran is the latest revelation from Allah. Which way do you want to jump?

  155. 186 patti in cape coral
    January 8, 2010 at 20:12

    What I learned: I was unaware that there were Christians in the world that called God, Allah.

    What I think: Linguistically interesting from a historical perspective, especially the man in New Zealand who was enlighteing us.

    The argument itself: A silly dispute about noises we make with our vocal chords.

    Sorry, I don’t usually like to ridicule people, but I can’t believe there is serious discussion over this.

  156. 187 Mirwaise
    January 8, 2010 at 20:33

    The muslims have the right over the word Allah refering toGod only in Islam. If in the west a company’s brand name cannot be used by another company then for muslilms it is as simply as that that their God’s name cannot be used by any other religion. So no argument on this.

  157. 188 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 8, 2010 at 21:06

    I was born in 1950 and grew up in the Society of Friends, Santa Monica Quakers. We worked for prison reform, the rights of children, religious tolerance the world over.

    My family left the Society of Friends when that Society asserted that it was morally superior to other traditions. To my family, that assertion was tantamount to brainwashing.

    Malay Muslims’ assertion that Islam is superior to other religions, and that other religions therefore have no right to call god by the same name they use for their exalted creator, shows their desire to brainwash adherents of Islam, demonstrates delusions of grandeur with regard to their own religion, and lays bear their arrogant dismissal of the religion of others.

    Such radical Muslims try to take the moral high ground, but they are really at the bottom of a crevass of theological blindness. The world will not be able to live in peace until we have a level playing field.

  158. 189 Andrew C
    January 8, 2010 at 21:36

    Just a quick question:
    Isn’t denying other religions the right to use Allah as a name for “their God” because it’s exclusive to Muslims the same as admitting that there are more Gods and therefore a heresy? Shouldn’t then the torchers be stoned or prosecuted or locked in a church and torched? ’cause yes, that’s how extremist religion works, isn’t it?

  159. 190 MINA
    January 8, 2010 at 21:38

    anyone can call God by any name .. and use any beautiful adjective as a name to call him.. let your heart choose…

  160. 191 Rob C
    January 8, 2010 at 21:40

    I think this story loses something in translation, that being any sense of reason – so I won’t bother trying figure it out.

  161. 192 patti in cape coral
    January 8, 2010 at 21:54

    Sorry, I said I can’t believe there is serious discussion over this, but what I really mean is that I can’t believe there is so much controversy and violence over this. If there were just discussion, there wouldn’t be a problem, would it?

  162. 193 Bert
    January 8, 2010 at 21:58

    I’m totally with Patti on this.

    Look, there are many words used to identify the supreme being that multiple religions worship. The ancient Romans used their previous generic word deus to identify the monotheistic God: Deus, later modified to Dio in Italian and Dieu in French, etc.. The Germans use Gott, and the English modify that to God. The Jews use Jehovah, the Messianic Jews (Christians) also use Jehovah, as do theJehova’s Witnesses.

    They are all referring to their supreme being.

    If in Arabic this supreme being is termed Allah, logic says that term should be usable across religions, exactly the same as the other terms I listed are used. Or sould these other religions or sects get incensed when Moslems use the term “God” to explain what Allah means?

  163. 194 steve
    January 8, 2010 at 22:33

    @ Devant

    “Why else would a Christian group use a non christian term for God if not merely to dupe the unsuspecting in a conversion attempt.”

    How is Allah an Islamic term? It’s arabic. Christianity existed for 600 years before Islam even existed, and arab speakers called Allah before Islam existed. People in that area were either Jews, christians, or pagans, before Islam. It’s not an Islamic word, it’s an Arabic word.

    Should other languages need new words for Algebra since it comes from Arabic? Christians say Amen and Hallelujah in their prayers, which are Hebrew words, and I’ve never heard any Jews having objections to them using those words, and it’s certainly not going to make me convert to Christianity because they say Amen too.

  164. 195 Insan Mukmin
    January 8, 2010 at 23:05

    Malaysia should emulate Greece which bans Christian proselytisation. Also many countries also considering a ban on Christian proselytisation, eg, Bhutan and India.

  165. 196 Eileen in Virginia
    January 8, 2010 at 23:23

    So many bloggers, I found myself scrolling down to see what Donnamarie in Switzerland has to say, because she always puts it so well.

    This is the first time I have found myself in agreement with a Latter Day Saint, a Catholic, a Hindu, an Agnostic and a mainstream Muslim all in one day.

    God bless us all.

  166. 197 Guillermo
    January 9, 2010 at 00:30

    Semantics is a part of any language.To say the same thing in several ways has been the proper way of people to express the same thing. It is curious that God is a trade mark. Muslims, catholics and whatever think that they have the only response to High Heavens. In a way they discriminate the human race. If you don´t say the proper name then you won´t go to the selected paradise in turn. It seems that discrimantion is not only a matter of color but of word. Maybe the right word would be taboo.

  167. 198 Maxwell
    January 9, 2010 at 02:42

    God is an idea, words are conventional which mean different things to different people. Calling God names doesn’t get his back up! Why should our feathers get unruffled ? Ideas and languages are not exclusive properties to be claimed, they are to be shared, exchanged. God is not a favourite of any tongue.Let’s save our breath to cool our broth!

  168. 199 Ronald
    January 9, 2010 at 03:14

    My Lebanese friend told me the Christians in Lebanon called God Allah. Allah is a generic word meaning God.

  169. January 9, 2010 at 03:31

    It is hard to put forward a truth that the world of people have been created to never accept. It can be done but in what meaning and of what name can you call it if you never know it from yourself?

    Truth exist, but if it can’t be used, then what use is it to know it. Names and ideas are incomplete if a individual isn’t allowed to use what they are and allow it to be alive in their own world of choices. God is all the wonderful things that can be thought it to be but if you can’t accept yourself for what you really are, no ones meaning is going to answer for your own identity and there will be no personal choice of existence.

    Civilizations have risen and fallen because the truth and benevolence present in the lifetimes of it’s inhabitants was not worshiped. Crimes against humanity were allowed to continue until those immediate needs as well were not met and mortality inhabited it’s existence. Without ownership and being that truth of knowledge, nothing has a meaning.

    God is a concept and principle of creation that which constitutes the life in each of us. That has been taken from humanity and placed out of reach of ever obtaining it, although is it a personal possession of our alone identity.

  170. 201 Jaguh Kampong
    January 9, 2010 at 04:38

    Don’t understand what the fuss is about. Most people here actually worship the RINGGIT ($) more than anything else. Money comes before God. That”s why corruption is so common here. Everyone who has the power to grant or approve something wants a kickback. What we have now is politicians using the issue for their selfish gains.

  171. 202 C. Moloney
    January 9, 2010 at 11:45

    By the way, just a footnote, it is against the law in Malaysia for any non-Muslim to preach his/her religion to a Muslim, to convert a Muslim or for a Muslim to convert to another religion. If a Muslim and non-Muslim or non-religious person decide to marry, the non-Muslim MUST convert to Islam.

  172. January 9, 2010 at 12:47

    the reward for my faith is not how a pastor or an imam understands me but rather how the 1 and only creator of everything(GOD/ALLAH/MUNGU/) here understands ME.

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  173. January 9, 2010 at 13:46

    Hi Nuala,

    This is madness at its worst. No one has a claim over the name for God be that name Yahweh, Elohim, Saboat, Iswar, Prabhu, the Enlightened one, Abba the Reality, or what ever.

    God is God be it by any name and no religion has a claim to the name that he is called by any religion.

    God is for to everyone and everyone, one can use any name to call upon him and there is no claim made by ANY RELIGION on the name that he is called upon.

    In NONE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES OF ANY RELIGIONS of any religion does it say that the name by which they call upon God, in that religion, is ONLY for that religion

    Has GOD been taken to court because of the name one calls him by and is the name that God is called the sloe right of that religion?

    This is ridiculous and absurd..


  174. 205 Rashid Patch
    January 9, 2010 at 15:51

    Arabic-speaking Christians and Arab-speaking Jews were using the word “Allah” for God for millennia before the time of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Even the polytheistic Arabs knew and used the word – just as a polytheistic Roman would use the word “dios” while giving honor to Jupiter, Ceres, etc.. At the time of the revelation of Islam, in the 6th Century CE, when Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) spoke in Arabic to Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians – and pagan polytheists, and even atheists, he and they all used the word “Allah”. His Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) used the word Allah when speaking Arabic, but Salman Farsi used the word “Khoda” when speaking Farsi; and there are accounts of his discussing the matter with Mohammad (p.b.u.h.), who did not object. When the prophet’s companion, Saul al-Tustari, a Byzantine, spoke in Greek, he would have used “theos”. Qur’an is explicit that all the revealed religions worship the same deity. “Our God and your God is One; our God and your God is Allah.”

    The idea that non-Muslims should be prohibited from using the Arabic word for God is a contradiction of the Qur’an, a violation of the teaching example of Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.), and an embarrassment to Muslims everywhere.

  175. 206 Hans
    January 9, 2010 at 17:02

    Absolutely Pathetic,
    These people (the religious…again) have again decided that what they personally “feel” should give them the “rite” (funnily enough) to take away other peoples rites. Sure non-muslims probably should not be calling god “allah” but so what? It is there freedom to do so, and if your offended by that,
    Too goddamn bad.
    Religion is not the issue here, but it is the excuse being used.

  176. 207 Jeong Chun phuoc
    January 9, 2010 at 17:50

    “International Protocol concerning the Use of the word ‘Allah’ ”

    In the light of current events, there is a need for all parties in Malaysia -and elsewhere- to let the Court liberty to resolve the issue concerning the word of ‘Allah’ in the Herald’s publication in Malaysia.

    Although the matter at hand is a local issue, the judicial pronouncement by the higher Courts -be it at the Court of Appeal level or even at the Federal Court level-will have international repercussion within the muslim majority regions not just within ASIAN countries but also in the Western hemisphere where muslim is albeit a minority.

    Due to the magnitude of the issue at hand, perhaps the OIC and regional inter-faith organisations -in Malaysia and also in Singapore- adopt an international protocol that may amicably resolve any outstanding issues pertaining to the use of ‘Allah’ for religious, academic etc purposes within the boundary of international religious co-operation and understanding framework.

  177. January 9, 2010 at 18:52

    I agree with those that say how this is just one more example of the ignorance of the people who call themselves Islamic. It also shows how their so called religious experts will continue to keep the masses ignorant for their own benefit.

  178. 209 chibuike kenneth
    January 9, 2010 at 19:02

    I think everyone is at liberty to hallow his or her God in any name whatsoever that pleases Him (God) without being questioned by anyone or group of people. No one has the sole right to call his God by a particular name which others are forbidden from. It is a free world. It is of you to know whether such pleases your God, if so use it.
    CHIBUIKE, Accra, Ghana.

  179. 210 duckpocket
    January 9, 2010 at 20:04

    I am nominally an Anglican Christian. I believe God has a name. It is Jehova. But I quite like the name Allah too. It is a sonorous equivalent for an identical God and has such a satisfyingly meditative feel, I think I might use it from now on.

    If any Muslims feel like calling upon Jehova at any time – feel free to get your own back, without any obligation to change your religion. You won’t be doing so anyway – it’s the same guy.

  180. 211 Ingle
    January 9, 2010 at 20:20

    Sorry, but I do not understand why anyone – who believes there is only one God – should want to use the name Allah. However as one writer has mentioned God is called a number of various names in different languages. The real question surely, is whether we all mean the same force of power when we speak of God. It would seem in many cases, that God for many people is only a word with no real value when considering how we should live or behave.

  181. 212 kadi
    January 9, 2010 at 21:53

    It looks like there is a lot more going on underneath all this religious fiasco. The protests are perhaps an outline of issues that have been going on for quite a while and have never been addressed. There is no copyright on the word Allah just exclusive use by certain quarters

  182. 213 mat hendriks
    January 9, 2010 at 22:00

    “Only a fool breaks his own heart about a name”.

  183. January 9, 2010 at 22:28

    Who has seen God except those who want us to believe they do. Whatever you call God is not the issue, the issue is, is there a God anyway? Or we are fighting over some magnetic feild working wonders on earth.

  184. 215 Tom K in Mpls
    January 9, 2010 at 23:10

    I think many posters here are forgetting what the stated core of the complaint is. While most here ( and in the world? ) feel it is one of many names for the same god, to them, there is a distinction. Personally, I feel that this distinction is the excuse ( truth ), and the loss of popularity ( fact ) is the real reason.

  185. January 10, 2010 at 02:38

    By now everyone can understand as to why the Founding Fathers commanded “no religious test shall ever be required … under the United States,” Art. 6., and why the First Congress commanded “no law respecting an establishment of religion,” First Amendment. The men who founded the USA were smart enough to know “religion” is not the business of government, but I am not surprised that most of the contributors to this conversation seem not to have read the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, not the Bible, Christianity, or any other element of religion. However, if anyone needs documentation, I suggest the book titled The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer.

    Gene Garman, M.Div.

  186. 217 James Ian
    January 10, 2010 at 03:27

    If there is a single creator watching over us all he must really be laughing or crying his head off over the stupidity. I hope said creator is laughing and not crying.

  187. 218 M
    January 10, 2010 at 04:56

    Can’t believ all of this. WHO CARES!

  188. 219 Halima
    January 10, 2010 at 13:39

    This reveals a deep insecurity amongst some Muslims. They feel attacked and marginalised and this feeling is leading to some individuals who identify with the victim-ness of this situation, so react way and beyond anything resembling reason.

    Of course everyone should be able to address their “God” by whatever name suits. Belief in the supernatural is an individual thing, and freedom of religion must underpin any multicultural society.
    BUT the reason behind all this nonsense is something more important and in the long run far more dangerous – and that is a feeling of disenfranchisement among a minority population – a general perception (whether justified or not) of being threatened. this must be addressed – via political inclusiveness, education, and multicultural forums – for everyone everywhere.
    This is a problem of a deep imbalance of power structures and social inclusion manifesting as stupid violence for ridiculous reasons which make no rational, religious or social sense. The answer is far more complex than a mere name use.

  189. January 10, 2010 at 15:35

    Theologically speaking God has many names. This latest dispute is more about unifying through what divides rather than unites. Difficult but understandable in the touchy atmosphere of religious dispute these days.

  190. 221 paul kiryowa
    January 10, 2010 at 15:39

    I think at this late someone will one day file for patent rights on words they invite and then they will be able to control how they words are used.

    My dream is to help people live in a world of choice where religion should be someone’s choice. What they choose to believe in is up to them as long as they dont hurt any other person. Take an example, if we were allowed to choose religion and follow it the way we choose courses in school this world will be the most peaceful place to live without fighting.
    When at school people choose to do courses/subjects that interests them and there is no way say for example an engineer will ever conflict with a lawyer or a doctor or a journalist. And the reason we have moved this far in our lives and made progress(in all aspects of life science, politics, social, economics, ….) is because of the harmony that exists when people make choices without any external forces and hence work in harmony. If someone chooses to be a Christian or a Muslim or to subscribe to any other affiliation without external influences, then there shouldnt be a problem with how one chooses to use words.
    In different literature we use words with no boundaries, the true meaning only makes sense to consumers of the literature and not who invited the word. I think at this late someone will one day file for patent rights on words they invite and then they will be able to control how they words are used.

  191. 222 Des Currie
    January 10, 2010 at 15:51

    It not the name of God that is false by any other name, it is the name of the prophet who is false.
    Des Currie

  192. January 11, 2010 at 00:57

    The answer to this question is simple. If all agree it is God’s name then the elementary logic dictates that the name belongs to him and not any group or religeon.

  193. 224 claudine
    January 11, 2010 at 01:27

    Doesnt it show that Muslims look for any possible opportunity to create trouble and to express their hatred towards other religions.
    I dont know who came up with the idea to accept Muslims in western society.
    Its just like inviting a cuckoo to breed in your nest.
    Islam in the world seems to be like a ticking time bomb. You never know when its going to explode.

  194. 225 Barbara
    January 11, 2010 at 03:17

    Now isn’t this all so pathetically silly? We are looking at this from the perspective of angry, jealous children who only wish to hurt each other. Consider the debate (and other such ongoing arguments) from the viewpoint of God. If this were of great importance to Him, wouldn’t a definite ruling have been laid down from the beginning? I honestly believe God has great sorrow at the meanesses and idiocies the human race continue to show to each other. Isn’t there some place we can agree to simply respect the other’s convictions and leave them alone to it? Certainly, I believe each religion has the right to explain their views and seek to convince others but I do not believe any religion (including my own) has the right to try to force compliance. This is ultimately a private matter for each individual.

  195. 226 Sophia in Malaysia
    January 11, 2010 at 09:21

    I am Catholic. However I do believe Islam is not to blame for the current fiasco. It’s widely (albeit) tacitly acknowledged that this is more a political / racial issue rather than religious.

    In Malaysia, law necessitates that all Malays must adopt the Muslim faith. And over time, as identity boundaries eroded – majority of the lesser educated Malays (and there are many of them!) start to regard all issues happening to the Malay community to be also an issue for the Muslim brotherhood and are thus unable / unwilling to differentiate between a malay dilemma and a muslim one.

    The ruling elite prefer to maintain status quo. As making every Malay issue into a war against Islam makes for stronger reasons to employ strong suppression methods in response.

    So for all who care to read this comment, please remember that Islam is NOT the reason behind this (just the scapegoat) but the true reason lies in the non-separation of powers between religion and the state.

  196. 227 kawtar
    January 11, 2010 at 11:00

    I which everybody call God Allah. It will be great. I will not be offended, but prideful.
    I m muslim.

  197. 228 Methusalem
    January 11, 2010 at 12:42

    I am a Christian, and I agree with the desire of the Malaysian Muslims who don’t want to share the name of their god with others. Our Lord, Jesus Christ is the one and only God of the Christians, and it would be balsphemous to me if I call him “Allah”. As Christians and Muslims have two different gods, I advice every Christian Arab or Malay to refrain from using the word “Allah” for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    • 229 Saut
      January 12, 2010 at 04:41

      Methusalem, you are judging the Malaysian Roman Catholic Church, Christian Arabs and Malay-speaking Christians are blasphemous when they use ‘Allah” for their God. On the presumption that Christians and Muslims have 2 different gods. Should not your presumptions also extent to Malaysian Catholics, Arab Christians and Malay-speaking Christians, maybe their ‘Allah’ is different from your god?

  198. 230 Eshorameh
    January 11, 2010 at 15:55

    Thank you Methusalem, The Issue is, if Jesus Christ is whom you refer to as you God, then, you cant refer to that God as Allah, cos Allah does not include the concept of the Christian God. i see the Malaysian issue as a strategy be the Catholics to confuse Muslims without this knowledge into conversation to Christianity.

  199. January 11, 2010 at 17:04

    God and religion are matters of faith and individual opinion, not fact, which is why the Founding Fathers of the USA commanded “no religious test” for public office and the First Congress commanded “no law” even respecting an establishment of religion in the United States of America. Nonetheless, as James Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. [James Madison, undated, c.1817],” William and Mary Quarterly. Or, see the book, The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer.

    The Founding Fathers got it right from the beginning.

  200. 232 StGermain
    January 11, 2010 at 22:59

    [@Moderator: Why does it repeatedly happen that any
    secondary posts I make never make it to the site? I’ve
    gotten “smarter” as I keep the page up starting with
    this post to see if it will appear so I can cut and paste
    with now the hopes of it making onto the blog. A genuine
    answer would be truly appreciated. Thank You In Advance.]

    The “Christians” that are confused, need to get a bit more
    grounding in your own religion’s history. The God of the
    Christians is the God of the Jews as is the God of
    Islam– they all worship the SAME EXACT God but with
    slightly different trappings.

    Allah is an Arabic word that simply means “God”. And please,
    let’s not all mince words over lower VS UPPER case. Technical
    linquistic symantics can be argued over another day.

    Christians seem to forget, in general, that Jesus was a JEW.
    He’d be going to the Jewish temple, the Synagogue on Saturday
    for services and would be celebrating the Sabbath starting Friday
    night. And remember also, the prophesy of “The Christ” or saviour,
    is a HEBREW prophesy.

    Lastly, Islam accepts the paths of Abraham leading to whom they
    consider the final prophet, Mohammed and thus, the Q’uran, to
    be equally valid – as at its core, Islam is actually tolerant of other
    people’s faiths. It’s the radicals that don’t understand the heart of
    Islam, and thus, act out violently.

    Christians act out as well, unaccepting of other faiths and force
    feeding Christianity on the world rather than accepting others
    faiths as valid. All should accept the teachings from Hinduism,
    the OLDEST religion in the world. Krishna (God) says in the
    Bhagavad Gita that there is no one path to “me (God)” other
    than the one that resonates with you and that you are faithful
    to – therefore accepting of all spiritual paths as being equally
    valid. Now THAT’S something we all should be adopting – it IS
    2010, but it often looks like 1810 or even 1710 at times when
    we see the conflicts we still see all around the world and esp.
    the ones related to on-going religious intolerance.


  201. 233 Gandalf
    January 12, 2010 at 00:00

    The Sikh Holy Scripture, Shri Guru Granth Sahib says God is one and is usually referred to as Waheguru. At the same time the holy book refers to God as Allah all over . Should the Sikh holy book be objected to by the same ideologues.

    What is at the root of objection is not religion but politics. Those objecting to the use of Allah by non-muslims are playing politics and are missing out on the true essence of their faith.

    Oh, by the way I am not a Sikh but believer in religious tolerance.

  202. 234 Bilkisu
    January 12, 2010 at 10:43

    I am a peace loving person,and i believe in that.In my own opinion,i think since the Malay muslims a against it, then it shld be stopped.But also,we all under the rule of law,so whatever the court decides shld be final.Ma-assalam.

  203. January 13, 2010 at 07:49

    As a human being, every individual has the right to decide whether or not there is a supernatural being by whatever name. The clerics who make their living preaching religion have a right to their own opinion, but every human being has the same right to decide their own personal opinion, regardless of the opinion of some so-called holy man, whether imam, priest, pastor, cleric, medicine man, or shaman, etc.

    For example, the USA is a nation in which citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate fully and freely in all of America’s social and political functions because in the USA there is “no religious test” (Article 6) and “religion” shall not be established by law or government at any level (First Amendment). In the USA, its written Constitution is the supreme law of the land, not religion.

    Unfortunately, too many in the world is still living in the Dark Ages of ignorance and illiteracy. We have brains in our heads to use, not to sit on. The idea of a supernatural “god” is a matter of opinion, merely a choice for every human being. Serious talk regarding the name of a theory about a “god” is silly. If someone wants to believe in a “god” and wants to give that “god” a name, who really cares? Not in the United States of America. America’s Founding Fathers got it right from the beginning: “religion” shall not be established by law and there shall be “no religious test.”

    It is as simple as that!

    Gene Garman, author of the book: The Religion Commandments in the Constitution.

  204. 236 Terry, Norfolk,UK
    January 13, 2010 at 13:12

    This is about politics, not religion. The Catholic Church wants to get a foot in the door by appealing to those who have heard of the concept of ‘god’ only by the name ‘allah’. The Islamic authorities do not want to cede any ground in the fight for ‘customers’. The more customers you have, the more political power you have.

    These arguments will go on until all the people of the world the courage to face up to life in a rational way, without inventing ‘Invisible Magic Friends’ to supply their emotional needs. We need to get rid of this myth and superstition, and believe instead in our own capacity to build a better world.

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