Malaysian image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be moved to church, preserved.

“We are strong in our faith and this is a sign from Jesus that we are important,” said Thomas, a Catholic, who added he was planning on heading to the hospital himself to see the “miracle” up close.

While many in the country, especially the conservative Islamic elements have denounced the “miracle,” Catholic worshipers are flocking to the hospital for a glimpse of the Virgin Mary.

The country’s Catholic community has swarmed the Sime Darby Medical Center to bear witness to what many believe is the appearance of the Virgin Mary on one of its windows.

“I am here to see for myself the miracle of the Mother showing herself here in Malaysia,” one Catholic worshiper told Bikyamasr.com on Sunday.

Others expressed disbelief, touching the window to see if it had been painted. It had not.

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Malaysia: Blessed Virgin Mary window image looks as though it was painted by an angel.

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Attacks in Malaysia designed to ‘annihilate’ Christians, warns Vatican official

Rome, Italy, Jan 11, 2010 / 12:59 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said last week that the recent attacks against Christians in Malaysia are designed to annihilate and reject “those who believe in Christ.”

The archbishop made his statements on Vatican Radio after Muslim extremists firebombed four Christian churches on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The attacks came after a controversy over whether to allow Catholics to use the term “Allah,” a traditional Malay word, in referring to the Christian God.

Archbishop Sarah also pointed out that “the fact that it has been forbidden to say the name of God is like considering them (Christians) to be pagans and therefore ‘in need’ of converting to Islam. That’s what is behind this,” he said.

“We must pray for these Christians who live in Muslim lands and suffer greatly,” the archbishop concluded.

Use of word “Allah” banned once again in Malaysia

Malaysian Bishop Laments “Allah” Ban

Says Church Holds Firm on Minority Rights

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, JAN. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A Malaysian bishop is underlining the rights of minority religions faced to the controversy over a ban prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word “Allah.”

Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing of the Melaka-Johor Diocese in Malaysia told ZENIT that the controversy over the use of the word “Allah,” as well as other Arabic words, is “not a linguistic battle.”

Rather, he said, it is a political “battle for votes.”

On Dec. 31, the Kuala Lumpur High Court overruled the ban, which was instated three years ago, affirming that it was unconstitutional and that the word “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam. It granted the Catholic Herald, which was using the word as a translation for God in the Malay language section of the periodical, permission to print “Allah.”

However, today the decision was suspended after days of protests. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry is appealing the act in an attempt to uphold the ban.

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Malaysians Flock Online Over God’s Name

The Arabic word Allah was first introduced to Southeast Asia by Muslim traders and was quickly adopted by local converts to the faith because they didn’t have their own local word for a single deity. Today, the word Allah is widely used by Christians in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as by Christians in Arabic-speaking countries such as Egypt, Syria and elsewhere.

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Muslims claim Allah is not the “Christian God”

“We want to live in peace with all religions here but the word Allah has traditionally in Malaysia been used to represent the Muslim God, which is different from Christianity, and this must be addressed,” he told AFP.

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

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Malaysia Court Rules Catholic Paper Can Use ‘Allah’ In Print

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) — Malaysia’s High Court ruled that a government ban on non-Muslim publications using the word “Allah” is unconstitutional, settling a dispute that stoked questions about religious freedom in the country.

The Herald, a weekly publication of the Catholic Church of Malaysia, filed for a judicial review after it was temporarily ordered to stop publishing for two weeks in December 2007 after using the word, which means “God,” in its Malay-language section.

The publication has a “constitutional right to use the word,” Judge Lau Bee Lan said in her oral judgment today, saying the paper only used it for a Christian audience and not for Muslims.

Malaysia’s government banned non-Muslims publications from referring to “Allah” in 1986 on grounds that it could threaten national security and confuse the country’s Muslims, who make up more than 60 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million population.

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald, welcomed today’s decision, saying it upheld freedom of expression and religion in the country.

“This also means that the Bahasa Malaysia-speaking community of the Christian faith can now continue to freely use the word ‘Allah’ without any interference from the authorities,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.