A Muslim demonstrator stands outside Malaysia's Court of Appeal, along with others, in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur October 14, 2013. Picture: Samsul Said

Kuala Lumpur -

A petrol bomb exploded on Monday at a Catholic church in Malaysia where a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” has divided Christians and Muslims, but no casualties or damage were reported, police said.

Two suspects threw two petrol bombs before dawn inside the compound of the Church of the Assumption in George Town in Penang state, 290 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur, but only one of the bombs exploded, state police chief Rahim Hanafi said.

Muslims and Christians in Malaysia are embroiled in a bitter legal case on whether or not the word “Allah” is only for exclusive use of Muslims, who comprise 60 percent of the population of the South-East Asian country.

Rahim said the suspects were seen fleeing from the scene on a motorcycle in closed-circuit television footage.

The Church of the Assumption was one of the three Catholic churches in Penang where banners printed with the word “Allah” were found hanging outside the gates on Sunday.

Officials of the three churches denied hanging the banners and filed police reports on the incidents. Rahim added additional police have been deployed in churches and mosques in George Town and outlying areas to prevent the situation from escalating. - Sapa-dpa