Malaysian Court Rules Non-Muslims Cannot Use the Words ‘Allah,’ Algebra, Hookahs

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — On Monday Malaysia’s highest court upheld a ruling that non-Muslims cannot use the word “Allah” as a synonym for God, nor can they appropriate any other aspects of Islamic culture, including algebra, hookahs, universities or coffee.

The Court of Appeal “applied the correct test, and it is not open for us to interfere,” Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria said. “Furthermore, this court will take this ruling to its logical extreme, and forbid all arrogation of Islamic culture by non-Muslims. This includes torpedoes, physics, optics, the lute, and any other Islamic creation.”

The case was originally brought in 2007 when the Home Ministry banned the use of “Allah” in the Malay-language edition of The Herald, a Catholic newspaper. Muslims argued that the Christian use of “Allah” could persuade Muslims to convert, thus jeopardizing national security. Following an October ruling that reinstated the ban, authorities confiscated Bibles that used the word “Allah.”

“We are greatly disappointed by this judgment,”said Herald editor Fr. Lawrence Andrew as authorities confiscated his cell phone, fountain pen, coffee-brewer, and deleted six episodes of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” from his hard drive. “Obviously we hope to—hey what are you doing?” he asked as authorities began removing his guitar. “You invented that too? Really? Okay.”

At press, all the Herald employees had filed for government living assistance after being told they could no longer cash checks.