Christians here called God “Allah” four centuries ago

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

Home Ministry officials in Putrajaya today were stunned to learn that the word “Allah” had been used by Catholics in this country to refer to the Christian God hundreds of years ago.

“I told them that ‘Allah’ had been used in this country because the lingua franca at that time was Malay,” Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew, the priest-editor of The Herald, told The Malaysian Insider.

The priest had met several senior aides to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in Putrajaya earlier this evening to clear up the confusion over the Catholic paper’s on-off publishing permit for next year.

Among the staffers present were the ministry’s head of publication control and Quranic texts and two special officers to Hishammuddin, Datuk Lau Yeng Peng and Datuk Michael Chong.

Andrew described the meeting as “cordial”.

During the hour-long dialogue, Andrew took the chance to draw their attention to a Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 which showed the translation for “Allah” and a Catholic prayer book published in 1894 brought over from Hong Kong.