KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has banned a translation of an Ultraman comic book after it referred to the popular Japanese superhero as "Allah", authorities said Friday, during an ongoing row over use of the word by non-Muslims.
The home ministry, which is in charge of domestic security and censorship, said the Malay language edition of "Ultraman, The Ultra Power" contains elements that can undermine public order and morals.
"Ultraman is an idolised by many children," and equating him with Allah will "confuse Muslim youth and damage their faith," it said in a statement.
It further warned that irresponsible use of the word can provoke Muslims and threaten public safety.
The Malaysian government is currently embroiled in an intense court battle with the Catholic Church over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims, in a case that has raised religious tensions in the majority Muslim country.
Ultraman is a fictional Japanese superhero who fights skyscraper-sized "Kaiju" (monsters), and first appeared on television in the 1960s.
The comic gained popularity worldwide, including in Malaysia, where versions dubbed in Malay were screened on TV and comic books translated into the national language.
The home ministry said other Ultraman comic books were unaffected and that only this edition is banned.