There is poverty, violence, death and destruction in the world, but to the government of Malaysia, the most important issue on this planet is not global warming, but allowing Christians the right to use the word Allah to refer to God. A Malaysian court ruled Christians had such a right and this has resulted in the prime minister and members of the legislature to rally round Allah. Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad commented: “what I am afraid of is that the term ‘Allah’ might be used in such a way that could inflame the anger of Muslims if (non-Muslims) were to use it on banners or write something that might not reflect Islam.” Huh?
It is strange how Muslims become aroused at the use of a word by non-believers even while their newspapers and magazines express violent hatred toward Jews and Christians. If it was a crime for Muslims to refer to “Jews” in other than respectful ways, a large percent of Muslims in some Muslin nations would spend their time in jail. This incident is all-ah storm in a teacup about nothing.
A Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to cease using the word “Allah” in its Malay language section or it wants to get a renewal of its license to publish. A senior official in the secruity Minister says the word God as “Allah” is only allowed to be used by Muslims and Christians can not use that word without offending those of the Muslim faith. “Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people.”
Although the nation’s constitution promises freedom of religion, many religious minorities complain about denial of their right to practice their religious beliefs. They have been denied the right to construct churches and Hindus have complained about demolition of temples by government authorities. Rev. Lawrence
Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the use of the word Allah was not intended to offend Muslims. “We follow the Bible. the Malay language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayer and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah.” Government officials argue the word “Allah” is not used in English prayers so why should it be used in Malay?
At some point, Muslim religious authorities should cease trying to tell people in other religions how to pray or what to say during their prayers. To make such determinations should rest with God or Allah or the Supreme Being, but never with we mere mortals.
Posted in Asia, Catholics, Christianity, Education, Islam, Multicultural, Muslims, Politics, Religion, World News
Tagged Allah, Catholics, god, Malaysia
Thousands of angry Turks marched along Istikal Caddesi, Independence Street, shouting for their government to strike hard at Kurdish rebels even if it means crossing the border into Iraq. The forces of jingoism have been unleashed by the latest assault on Turkish troops which left at least 12 dead and several missing. People from all backgrounds, car mechanics to students at Bilgi University, spoke of their frustration at failure of the Erdogan government to take decisive action against Kurdish rebels. Secretary of State Rice urged Prime Minister Erdogan to hold back on a step toward war, but Erdogan informed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “we cannot wait forever, We have to make our own decisions.” And, if the decision is for war, the overwhelming majority of Turkish people will support the action. In the mean time, Kurdish people are daily encountering examples of hatred and bigotry once people learn of their background.
During the past few years, the Islamic government of Recep Erdogan has made great strides in providing aid to eastern Turkey which is the home of most Kurds. In so doing, they may have frightened the rebel Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) into believing the average Kurd was turning away from the dream of a greater Kurdish nation. This fear may well be a factor in the recent increase in violence and attacks on Turkish soldiers.
Lost in the rhetoric and anger is the connection between the current crisis and American foreign policy decisions. President Bush invaded Iraq although just about every expert on the Middle East was saying such action might lead to creation of an independent Kurdistan which would frighten Turkey. Their predictions came true. Perhaps, many Middle Eastern people find amusing that Secretary of State Rice is urging moderation and hesitation prior to invading a nation. Why is it Bush wants everyone else in the world to act moderately at a time of crisis?
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Military, Peace, Politics, Turkey, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Allah, Bush, Erdogan, Iraq, Kurdistan, Rice, Turkey, War