From the May/June, 2010 issue of Touchstone
Entitled to God by Peter Riddell

Entitled to God

Copyrighting “Allah” in Malaysia Stirs Strife

by Peter Riddell

Most Westerners assume that Allah is the name used for God in Islam. Indeed it is, but Muslims are not the only ones to use it.

Allah was used for one of the deities, probably the supreme deity, in pre-Islamic Arabia some 1,500 years ago. In today’s Arab world, Allah is the standard term for God among Arabic-speaking Christians of different denominations. The Catholic Maltese, whose language is related to Arabic, refer to God as Alla. In Indonesia, Allah is commonly used by Christians; the 1974 New Translation of the Bible in Indonesian renders the Old Testament Hebrew terms for God with < . . .


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