The meter of religious intolerance is being ratcheted up again, according to this Reuters piece from Al Arabiya TV. Authorities (and mobs) in Malaysia are incensed that the Papal Nuncio to Kuala Lumpur used the word “Allah” to describe God. “Allah”, they claim, should only be used to address the Muslim God. Never mind that for better than a millennium the word “Allah” has been used by Arab Christians.
The situation is particularly tragic as Islamophobes try to argue that “Allah” is a separate sort of god, not at all the Christian or Jewish one. Muslims in Malaysia are helping their enemies by insisting that there’s a difference.
First Vatican envoy to Malaysia sparks Muslim anger over ‘Allah’
Reuters, Kuala Lumpur
The Vatican’s first envoy to Malaysia has opened a storm of controversy by apparently supporting the use of the word “Allah” by Christians, prompting a rebuke from the government and condemnation from nationalist Malay groups in the majority-Muslim country.
The row underlines growing intolerance in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious country following an election in May that deepened the divide between majority Muslim Malays and minority ethnic Chinese, many of whom are Christian.
Archbishop Joseph Marino was summoned to the foreign ministry on Tuesday after his comments last week on the issue.
“Archbishop Marino was advised to be mindful of the religious sensitivities of the host country and that the issue he commented on is still under the Court of Appeal,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Marino, who arrived in the country in April, apologized for any “misunderstandings and inconveniences” his comments may have caused, but some Muslim organizations have demanded a full retraction or the envoy’s expulsion.