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Malaysia softens stance on seized Bibles

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia has reversed its decision to stamp Malay-language Bibles with serial numbers and government seals, softening its stance after Christians criticized the move as desecrating their holy book.

A dispute over the distribution of Malay-language Bibles containing the word "Allah" as a translation for God prompted customs authorities to hold 35,000 Indonesian-made Bibles since 2009. The government bans the use of "Allah" in non-Muslim texts, saying it could confuse Muslims or even be used to convert them.

The government said late Tuesday that it would release the Bibles with only the words "For Christianity" stamped on them. For books already stamped with serial numbers and seals, it said Christian donors have offered to replace them with new imported Bibles.

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