Four Christian churches in Malaysia were attacked Jan. 8 amid tensions over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims in the country. Attackers threw a molotov cocktail at a church in Selangor state, although it failed to ignite. Hours earlier, a petrol bomb was thrown at a church in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, as attackers attempted to set another two ablaze in a nearby suburb. The attacks come amid protests over last week’s court ruling that overturned a ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah” in their literature—allowing a Catholic newsletter to use the term to refer to God in the Malay language.
The judge has since suspended implementation of the ruling, after the government appealed and the Catholic church agreed to the suspension. Muslim groups held protests against the ruling after prayers on Friday Jan. 8, despite a warning from Musa Hassan, the country’s police chief, to “let this be handled by the court” and that he “will take action against anyone who acts to jeopardise national security.” (AlJazeera, Jan. 8)