A ban of an indigenous-language Bible in Malaysia went all the way to the prime minister's office. Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, acting as head of state until he takes office in October, lifted the ban on the Iban-language Bible following an appeal from church leaders.
The ban had come from Malaysia's Home Ministry, which ruled the Iban Bible and 35 other publications- including books by Christian apologists J.I. Packer and John Stott-"detrimental to public peace." Home Ministry official Elias Mat Rabi said the books confused Muslims because they used the Arabic word "Allah" for God. The Iban Bible uses the phrase "Allah Tala" to refer to God, but its use, like the Arabic, likely predates Islamic usage.
Iban is the largest indigenous tribe in Malaysia, with a population of approximately 550,000. The lifting of the ban, said Elizabeth Kendal of World Evangelical Alliance, "is a victory for constructive dialogue and religious liberty."