Malaysia Opposition Fires Lawmaker In 'Allah' Spat

March 7, 2010

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Google News

Wire Service: AP

Malaysia's opposition has fired an outspoken lawmaker who broke ranks with his party in a religious dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims, party officials said Sunday.

The move follows weeks of turmoil in opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's three-party alliance, which is battling concerns that nearly a dozen opposition legislators might switch sides and enable the ruling coalition to regain the two-thirds parliamentary majority it lost in 2008 elections. The alliance has lost four members of Parliament in less than a month.

Anwar's People's Justice Party announced late Saturday it was kicking out Zulkifli Noordin, a lawmaker who has repeatedly clashed with other opposition officials and recently filed a police complaint against his own colleague for stating that non-Muslims can use the word "Allah" as a translation for "God."

Religious tensions rose in January after the High Court struck down a government ban on the non-Muslim use of the word, angering many among the ethnic Malay Muslim majority. Subsequently, several Christian churches were attacked with firebombs and paint. Some Muslims have been arrested in connection with at least one attack.