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Ultraman comic banned in Malaysia, possibly for its use of the word "Allah"

Published on Mar 7, 2014 1:04 AM
A file picture of some of Ultraman's characters. Malaysia's Home Ministry has said that the contents of 'Ultraman the Ultra Power' were detrimental to public order. -- PHOTO: SPH

KUALA LUMPUR - A comic book featuring Japanese action character Ultraman has been pulled from the shelves in Malaysia, possibly for containing the word "Allah".

According to the The Star, the Malaysian Home Ministry on Thursday issued a ban on the Malay edition of "Ultraman The Ultra Power", which it says contains elements that threatened public order.

Within hours of the book's ban, a Twitter user uploaded an alleged page of the comic that is shown to use the Arabic word for God to describe a specific Ultraman, according to The Malay Mail Online.

The dialogue on the page read: "Beliau dianggap sebagai, dan dihormati sebagai, 'Allah' atau Elder semua wira Ultra,", says the online newspaper, which in English translates to: "He is considered, and respected as, 'Allah' or the Elder to all Ultra heroes."

Ultraman first appeared on television in the 1960s, and gained popularity worldwide for its battles with monsters that often ravaged cities.

When contacted by The Malay Mail Online, the Malaysian Home Ministry would only confirm that the comic book had been banned.

A statement attained by The Star said that anyone who prints, reproduces, publishes or sells the comic could be liable to imprisonment of up to three years, or face a RM20,000 (S$7,768) fine.

This case comes just after news that Malaysia's apex court has deferred indefinitely on whether to allow the Catholic Church to appeal against a ban on its use of the word "Allah".

In 1998, the Home Ministry issued the first of five letters barring a Catholic newspaper from using the word "Allah" for reasons of public order and security.

The church says that it has used the word in the Malay section of its Herald weekly newspaper peacefully for 14 years prior to a 1998 order.