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In 2007, the newspaper for the Catholic Church in Malaysia, Herald, and The Sabah Evangelical Church of Borneo filed legal suits against the Malaysian government after being disallowed to use the term ‘Allah’ in their publications. This came after Muslim groups were worried that Malaysian Muslims would get confused as a result of both Christians and Muslims using the term ‘Allah’. The Christian groups, however, say that it is their right to use the term as they have been using it for centuries.

A recent high court ruling that upheld the right of Christians to use the term ‘Allah’ has met with stiff resistance from some Muslim groups, with four churches being attacked by firebombs, one suffering heavy damage.

There have been reports that accuse the UMNO government of supporting the violence in a bid to gain political support from the Muslim community- much of whose support they lost in the last general elections. However, the UMNO denies these allegations.

Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious community and there is always a constant threat of racial or religious conflicts destroying the fabric of our society, as they did in the 1950s with the Maria Hertzog racial riots. What can we learn from this example of religious conflict in Malaysia?

For information please go to http://jarelca.wikispaces.com/