Vatican Envoy Says 'No Intention' To Interfere

Vatican envoy to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino has conveyed his apology over misunderstandings which arose following his comments on the ‘Allah’ issue.

“The comments were never intended as an attempt to intrude into the internal affairs of the country,” the Vatican's embassy said in a statement.

Archbishop Joseph Marino had also conveyed the message through Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman in a meeting with the latter at Wisma Putra this afternoon.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the minister advised the envoy "to be mindful of the religious sensitivities of the host country".

He was also reminded that the issue of the usage of the word 'Allah' is still pending in court.

"In this regard, Archbishop Marino was asked to observe the basic principles in diplomatic practices as well as non-interference with the domestic affairs of the host country," it said.

It also added the envoy had "apologised for the misunderstandings and inconveniences" caused by his comments.

Marino had last Thursday expressed support to the Christian Federation of Malaysia's stand to allow the use of the word Allah among Christians, sparking outcry among some Malay-Muslim NGOs.

Allah is used in the Bahasa Malaysia versions of the Bible, especially by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak as the mostly bumiputera congregation there worship in Bahasa Malaysia.

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