Malaysian authorities have confiscated more than 15,000 Bibles because they referred to "God" as "Allah," a translation that has been banned in this Muslim-majority country, Christian church officials said.
Rev. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said authorities seized a consignment of 10,000 copies sent from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Kuching, in Sarawak state, on Sept. 11 because the Indonesian-language Bibles contained the word "Allah." An additional 5,100 Bibles, also imported from Indonesia, were seized in March, said an official from the Bible Society of Malaysia.
A Home Ministry official said he was not aware of the seizures. Church officials say "Allah" is not exclusive to Islam but is an Arabic word that predates Islam.