Kuala Lumpur, Jan 12 - The use of the word 'Allah' is exclusive to Muslims in Malaysia, a senior government official Tuesday told representatives of foreign missions here while briefing them on attacks on churches.
'They wanted a better understanding of how the word 'Allah' is applied in Malaysia in comparison with, say, Indonesia. We explained why in some countries it is used across the board while in other landscapes like Malaysia, it is exclusive to Islam,' said home ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam.
The foreign representatives were told that comparing the use of the word 'Allah' here and in other countries was akin to comparing apples with oranges, NST online, website of the New Straits times reported.
'We have to be fair... - compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges,' he said at a press conference after the briefing.
In an hour-long briefing attended by 96 representatives of the missions, Mahmood assured that the government was handling with urgency the incidents related to the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims.
Eight churches have been attacked with fireballs and Molotov cocktails over the past week since a high court ruled in favour of a Catholic church-run magazine, Herald, to use the word 'Allah' on its masthead.
Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told mediapersons that some people suspected to have indulged in arson have been identified.
The diplomats were also given a guarantee on security in the country.