Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Malaysia update

Two interesting updates on the situation in Malaysia, where Christian Churches (both Catholic and Protestant) have been attacked in the light of a controversy over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians to translate the word God in the Malay language.

ZENIT and Fides are reporting (here and here respectively) responses from the Muslim community in Malaysia that reflect the solidarity that I referred to in my earlier post as occurring in India and Pakistan. The clearest expression of this, from the ZENIT report:
In fact, Fides reported, moderate Muslim groups have organized watches in churches to prevent a repeat of the violence.
The first paragraph of Fides report suggests a political motivation for the situation that has arisen:

The dispute over the name "Allah" contains political undertones, not theological ones. It is the attempt by the ruling party, the UMNO (United Malays National Organization), to regain the support they have progressively lost, as was evident in the last elections in 2008. This is what emerges from the interventions, discussions, and debates underway among Malaysian Christians and among the churches of various denominations present in Malaysia. As Fides learns from local sources, this idea is also shared by the opposition parties, many of whom are Muslims who condemn "the attempt to polarize Malaysian society on religious grounds."

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