Posted on 10-01-2010
Filed Under (Politics, Religion) by Rashtrakut

On December 32, 2009 a Malaysian court overturned a government ban of usage of the word Allah to denote the Christian god.  Since then hell has broken loose with Churches in the moderate Muslim majority country being firebombed and vandalized.  Accusations have been made that the ruling party whose hold on power is weakening is using the issue to consolidate support among the majority Malay (and Muslim) community.  If so that would be a tragedy.  Before the Saudis found oil and exported their blinkered view of Islam globally, Malaysia (and neighboring Indonesia) were shining examples of how Islam can peacefully coexist with other religions.  Now that is being put at risk by a rather silly dispute on terminology.

Islam acknowledges that God sent prophets to other peoples before the arrival of Muhammad.  This list specifically includes Jesus and Christians are deemed “people of the book” to whom god made a divine revelation and provided a book of prayer.  It naturally follows in Islamic theology that the God of the Christians (setting aside the concept the trinity and the divinity of Jesus which Muslims do not accept and is not at issue here) is the same divine entity.  Indeed under the monotheism inherent in Islam a different interpretation cannot hold.  Yet for some reason Malaysia banned Christians from using the word Allah to denote God in the Malay tongue.  Evidently the alternative words available to be used in native dialects did not measure up to a representation of the divine and Christians asked that the ban be rescinded.  Now fanatics with a limited grasp on their own theology have resorted to violence.

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