CNN–Malaysia: Churches firebombed amid Allah dispute

Attackers firebombed three churches in the southeast Asian nation of Malaysia overnight, assaults that come amid widespread Muslim ire over a court ruling that allowed Christians to use the word Allah as a term for God.

Malaysian news reports said no casualties have been reported, and police have promised to step up security for churches and other places of worship.

But the acts stirred unease in the diverse society — where 60 percent of the people are Muslim, 19 percent are Buddhist, 9 percent are Christian and 6 percent are Hindu.

“We regret the irresponsible actions of certain extremist elements for the recent spate of firebombs thrown into church premises. These actions display their immaturity and intolerance toward others within a multi-racial society,” the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia said in a statement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Evangelicals, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Malaysia, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

5 comments on “CNN–Malaysia: Churches firebombed amid Allah dispute

  1. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Ah yes, more proof that Islam is a peaceful religion.

  2. Doug Martin says:

    Archer; “May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation.” -Anglican Primate of Nigeria Peter Akinola. Christian mobs in Onitsha retaliated against Muslims, killing 80 persons, burned a Muslim district with 100 homes, defaced mosques and burned the corpses of those they had killed in the streets, forcing hundreds of Muslims to flee the city. More proof the Christianity is a peaceful religion?
    Anybody remember the “until recently Yugoslavian” Catholics committing “ethnic cleansing” against their fellow Muslims?

    Peace, Brother.

  3. Katherine says:

    #2, I think those were Orthodox, not Catholics.

    The difference is that one does not find commandments to kill or subdue opponents in the foundational Christian teachings, but those commandments are to be found in foundational Muslim teachings, and those who take them literally are dangerous.

  4. Doug Martin says:

    Katherine; depending on which of the states that Yugoslavia evolved into one looks at there seem to be a generous mix of Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim killing one another, in Kosovo and Bosnia as somewhat separate events. A friend once said “All religions read well.” It isn’t what we say but how we act that the world remembers, and when we seek to convince ourselves that “Christians are peaceful, Muslims are warlike” it just adds to the hypocrisy and solves nothing.

  5. Loren+ says:

    Archer, a little background here would be helpful. Malaysia is a multi-religious country dominated by Islamic politics–which politics are divided into two camps. The party in power is committed to a “secular” Islamic strategy, similar to that in Turkey. The opposition party is committed to a strategy of invoking religious law for all citizens, similar to Syria perhaps. (Please note that Malaysia has other dynamics because it is Southeast Asia and not the Middle East.) The prevailing dynamics are the competition between two forms of Islamic politics (with corresponding views of Islam as a religion), with Christians, Muslims and Buddhists caught in the middle.

    In the middle the other religions are often pawns in the chess match. In this case the “religious politics” are seeking to preserve the word used for God as an Islamic word, while the “secular” politics are following the centuries-old norm in most of the Islamic world, that yes Christians and Jews may use the word Allah to refer to God in their own worship.

    To find a similar context in the West, look at circumstances where two political parties with different visions of the role of Christianity in the culture might use a minority group within the nation to push their own larger political agendas. The violence if any is a symptom of the wider political issues not the teaching of Christianity per se–since both parties have roots in the same Christianity.

    I’ll leave open the question of violence in Islam (even Muslims are arguing that question)–these Church burnings however reflect the divide within Muslim politics in Malaysia.