An Islamic political party in Malaysia has decreed that non-Muslims are banned from using the word "Allah" to describe God, in their religious publications.
Malaysia's leading Islamic party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), has decided the term "Allah" may only be used by Muslims, and other religious groups must be prevented from using the term. The issue raises growing concerns regarding the increased Islamization of the country.
The PAS Sayura Council has declared "translating ‘God’ or ‘Lord’ from any non-Muslim religious book into the word ‘Allah’ is forbidden because it is wrong in terms of meaning and use, does not fulfill the actual requirement and can bring confusion" Al Arabiya reported. The ban only applies to written texts.
Non-Muslims may use the word God, Lord or Tuhan according to PAS. The Malaysian Multi-Racial Democratic Action has urged the Malaysian government to allow the word "Allah" to be used in Malay-Language Bibles.
PAS aims to establish sharia law in Malaysia. However, it has recently gained popularity in the polls by adopting a more moderate stance. According to the Berkley Center the party has tried to ban gambling, nightclubs and rock concerts. In November 2012 PAS failed in its efforts to ban an Elton John concert in Malaysia, protesting that performances by gay stars would drag the country's youth into vice.