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Malaysian PM Najib says Christians must heed 'Allah' ban

Published on Jan 24, 2014 9:58 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian Christians must obey rules forbidding them from using the word "Allah", Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted saying on Friday, breaking his silence in a festering row that has raised fears of religious conflict.

The comments by Mr Najib met with immediate dismay from Christians, who have called the issue an example of growing Islamic intolerance that threatens to tarnish the Muslim-majority country's moderate image.

Muslim conservatives including the country's king have recently stepped up demands that Malay-speaking Christians not use the Arabic word to refer to the Christian God, saying it is reserved for Muslims.

"Allah" also is used by the Muslim ethnic Malay majority in Islamic worship.

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