Three Chruches attacked By Muslims For Using The Holy Word "Allah" By Christians

Three churches in Malaysia were attacked with firebombs, causing extensive damage to one, as Muslims were oath Friday to prevent Christians from using the word Allah, rising religious tensions in the multiracial country.

Most of the Malay Muslims, who build up 60 percent of the population, are angered by a recent High Court decision to overturn a ban on Roman Catholics using "Allah" as a translation for God in the Malay-language edition of their main newspaper, the Herald.

The government says Allah, an Arabic word that predates Islam, is exclusive to the belief and by extension to Malays. It declines to make an exception, even though the Herald's Malay edition is read only by Christian native tribes in the distant states of Sabah and Sarawak.

One speaker shouted into a loudspeaker the word Allah is only for us at Kampung Bahru mosque.

The first attack held at the ground-level office of the three-story Metro Tabernacle Church was destroyed in a blaze set off by a firebomb thrown by attackers on motorcycles soon after midnight, police said. The worship areas on the upper two floors were not damaged and there were no injuries.

Two other churches were attacked hours later, with one maintaining minor damage while the other was not damaged. Church officials had earlier said a fourth church was attacked but they later withdraw the report saying they were misinformed. National police chief Musa Hassan said the report of the fourth attack was a rumor.

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