Malaysia Charges 3 Muslims for Church Firebombing

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The Malaysian government has charged three Muslim men with firebombing a church. They are the first suspects to be taken to court after a wave of attacks against 11 churches over the past three weeks.

The violent rampage began after a dispute over whether non-Muslims can use the word "Allah" to refer to God. Many Malaysian Muslims believe the word should only be used by their people in their religion, and that its use by others could confuse some Muslims and even tempt them to convert.

Government lawyer Anselm Charles Fernandis said the three suspects pleaded innocent to starting the fire that partially gutted a Protestant church Jan. 8.

The attacks on churches have subsided in the past two weeks, but fears of tensions resurfaced Wednesday when severed heads of wild boars were found dumped at two mosques. Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims.

The suspects face a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.

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