Malaysia Agrees to Release 35,000 Seized Bibles

By Staff | March 15, 2011 | 8:20 AM EDT

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's government has agreed to release some 35,000 imported Bibles seized by customs officials amid a dispute over the use of the word "Allah" as a translation for God.

The announcement comes less than a week after the main Christian grouping in this Muslim-majority country lashed out at authorities for refusing to allow the distribution of the Malay-language Bibles.

The Prime Minister's Department said in a statement Tuesday that the government has decided to release the Bibles held at two ports because it would not affect a court case on whether non-Muslims have the constitutional right to use the word "Allah."

The Christian Federation of Malaysia said last week it was "fed up and angered" by the books' seizure.