Muslims Ready to Burn Bibles for Religious, Political Gain
Christian writers recognize the Bible as the cornerstone of their faith and their writing. Most are aware that the Muslim community has been outraged when maverick U.S. pastors or others have burned the Muslim holy book, the Koran. However, Muslim leaders in Malaysia are calling for “festivals” to burn Christian Bibles.
In a report carried by Compass Direct News (CDN), the Sultan of the State of Selangor has forbidden Christians from using the word “Allah” in their publications, which runs counter to a 400-year practice where Bibles and other Christian literature have used “God” and “Allah” interchangeably.
The term “Allah” is the Arabic word for God, even though many Christians believe that Muslims do not worship the same God they do. In any event, using the words interchangeably has been the custom in the Malay language for more than 400 years, according to CDN.
The threat to burn Bibles was made by a Malaysian Muslim group called Perkasa which has links to the ruling United Malays National Organization (Umno). Perkasa’s leader is a Member of Parliament, so the threats appear to have have government sanction.
CDN believes Bible burning is a result of action by government and religious leaders who fear Muslims in Malaysia might be confused if Christians also use the word to describe God. CDN said, “The controversy first surfaced in 2009 when the Herald, a Malaysian Catholic weekly newspaper with a circulation of 14,000, mounted a legal challenge against the Government; it had been ordered to stop using the word Allah or risk losing its publishing license.”
In December 2009 the High Court ruled that “Allah” was not restricted to Muslims and the Catholic Church had the right to publish the word in the Malay language section of its newspaper. However, Muslims went to the streets and fire-bombed churches after the ruling was announced.
CDN said, “Malaysian Christians, who form only 9.2 per cent of a population of 28 million, say their anguish is profound as their faith is again under attack. They say that the threat to hold a Bible-burning festival flies in the face of the spirit of a once-famed harmonious multiracial and multi-religious country where the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.”
Published on: Jan 30, 2013