Kuala Lumpur Church Firebombed over Allah Issue


Would a god by any other name smell as sweet?

Asia Sentinel

Youths on motorcycles firebombed an Assemblies of God church in Kuala Lumpur last night, gutting its administrative offices, and threw a Molotov cocktail at a Catholic church in the Petaling Jaya suburb as tensions continue to rise  over a decision by a High Court justice that the Catholic Church could use the word “Allah” to represent the Christian god in the Malay version of its news publication, The Herald.

Police later reported that two more churches were attacked as well although at one the Molotov cocktail failed to ignite. Police stationed police cars at churches throughout the city as demonstrations were scheduled at mosques across the country during the Friday Muslim prayer hours.  Officials from the United Malays National Organization and Parti Islam se-Malasia, the two ethnic Malay political parties, condemned the attacks and called for calm. By Friday evening, at least 150,000 protesters have signed onto a Facebook protest, with the numbers continuing to grow.

The ruling by Justice Lau Bee Lan was stayed on Jan 6. at the request of Abdlu Gani Patail, Malaysia’s attorney general.  Lau’s decision has generated massive protest across Malaysia, much of it fomented by UMNO, according to critics.  Catholic Church officials agreed to the stay out of national security concerns.

There are increasing concerns that the matter could get out of hand. Musa Hassan, the inspector general of police, warned groups planning to stage rallies that they had better cancel or they could face action. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has also called for calm although he also said protesters have the right to rally within the confines of mosques.

“We cannot stop them, as long as it is confined within the mosque area,” he told a press conference.


The Muslim youth movement Abim and the National Association of Muslim Students were expected to hold nationwide rallies today against Justice Lau’s decision.

Kuala Lumpur is also bracing for rising Malay protest in advance of the trial of 12 so-called “cow’s head” protesters who are expected to go to court on April 12 for sedition for an incident that happened last August when they were arrested for carrying a cow’s head to the Selangor state government headquarters in protest of a plan to relocate a 150-year-old Hindu temple in what was regarded as an ethnic Malay area. Cows are sacred to ethnic Hindus.