August 16, 2007
We're all Allah's Children (updated)
From our "Shock and Awe" files comes this rather curious statement from a Dutch Cardinal:
A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims.This is shocking, even coming from a liberal European Cardinal. And since Christianity is still the dominant religion in the Netherlands, perhaps the prelate might want to ask why our Muslim brothers and sisters can't be the ones adapting and change the address they send their prayers to by beseeching "God" rather than "Allah."
Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television on Monday that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word
"Allah" while celebrating Mass. "Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem.
But it's not about respecting Muslim sensibilities. This is all about diversity and political correctness. The Cardinal's point about the name of God might be valid if the only thing at stake was an individual's right to call his God any name he so desires. But the Cardinal is, in essence, proposing a political accommodation with Muslims over something so fundamental that one wonders if there is any issue - even matters of dogma and faith - that the prelate wouldn't compromise on.
I hope Pope Benedict calls this dope on the carpet by requesting that he come to the Vatican to explain himself. A few choice words from his holiness will probably be all that is necessary to put this cringing Cardinal in his place.
Update: Bob Teter writes:
The good priest used the word Allah in Indonesia where it appeared to be local custom. That being the case, why not ask the Imans to use the word "God" when they are in the West and follow local custom? After all, as the Priest says, "God does not care what we name him." Oops. Silly question.