Monday, January 11, 2010

Malaysia churches firebombed over the name of God

Sometimes, in the effort to give others the benefit of the doubt, Westerners underestimate the differences between the thinking of Western democracies and the Islamic world. There is little that illustrates the difference between Western ideas of religious freedom and Islamic ideas of it than a rash of bombings in Malaysia against Christian churches. The reason? Doctrine? Culture? Historical gripes? Nope. It is over the use of the Malaysian name of God, which happens to match the Arabic "Allah".

Two more churches in Malaysia were firebombed Sunday, bringing the total to six since a court ruled that non-Muslims can use the word "Allah" as a term for God...In recent months, authorities in Malaysia have seized more than 20,000 Bibles because they refer to God as Allah.
The seizures have fed fears among minority groups, which see signs of encroaching Islamic fundamentalism in the predominantly Muslim but multiracial country.
As we confront Al Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups, we need to keep in mind these differences in perspective.

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