Just consider what would have been the international reaction if a Christian-majority country would have shown on TV ads aimed at non-Christians telling them what they should or shouldn’t do during religious celebrations. I guess even Ban Ki-Moon would have protested:
“While the station retracted the advertisements within 48 hours of first screening them and issued a public apology, this episode is telling of the dominant interpretation among members of the Malay bourgeoisie there about the value of Ramadan,” writes Bahrawi. “Ending each advertisement is a condescendingly moralizing message that puts the onus of betterment on the culturally ‘other’ when the focus should be an improvement of the self.
“In one, non-Muslims are explicitly told: “Do not be loud or obnoxious.”
“In another, it was: “Do not be greedy and eat in public.”
“More than spell out the exclusive nature of Islam, the advertisements are revelatory of the inability of Malaysia’s ultra-Malay elites to overcome ethnic tensions with the minority Chinese,” writes Bahrawi. “Ramadan or not, the advertisements suggest that their rose-tinted view of Malaysia is one colored by race-tinted glasses.”
Something that is not mentioned as often as it should:
Eleanor Roosevelt with UDHR written in Spanish. Image via Wikipedia
As noted in a 2008 report by a Christian human-rights organization, “Apostates from Islam to another religion suffer a host of serious abuses from their families, communities and nations.” These renegade Muslims may well face the death penalty in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Sudan, and other forms of oppression in many other Muslim societies.
The reason for this systemic violation of religious freedom is, unfortunately, religious. Most classical schools of sharia law consider apostasy from Islam a crime punishable by death. A hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad is quite clear on this: “If somebody [among Muslims] discards his religion, kill him.” The implication is that Islam is a religion with free entry but no free exit. Continue reading →
Islamabad intends to reconstitute the department that protects religious minorities. Abolished recently in a federal framework of constitutional reform in Pakistan, the ministry was headed by Shahbaz Bhatti – assassinated in March by an extremist group – it will be called “Ministry of National Harmony“, and will be entrusted to the Catholic politician Akram Gill, with a federal portfolio and rank. Encountering a group of young people, the lawmaker has asked the new generations for “greater efforts” in building a peaceful world.
In recent days, the Pakistani government approved the creation of three different ministries: National Harmony, Human Resources and Development, Professional and Technical training. The decision seems to be linked to the protests of ministers, left without portfolios following the recent reform to promote decentralization. In particular, the Ministry of Harmony will benefit from six departments and will have the task of promoting peace, tolerance and greater solidarity within society, with particular attention to interfaith dialogue.
Well, at least this time they have been convicted:
Three Muslims convicted of killing Christian Rasheed Masih, in Pakistan’s Punjab Province for refusing to convert to Islam last year have been given life sentences, according to attorneys for the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in Pakistan.
The Sessions Court in Mian Channu on July 7 convicted Ghulam Rasool, Amjad Iqbal and Kashir Saleem of torturing and killing Rasheed Masih on March 9, 2010, and sentenced them to life in prison, which in Pakistan is 25 years. The court also ordered each convict to pay 100,000 rupees (US$1,153) to Masih’s family. A fourth suspect, Muhammad Asif, was acquitted.
Here we go again [the reason Christians use “Allah” to call God is simple: there is no other word to call God in Malaysian language]:
Image via Wikipedia
Muslim leaders in Malaysia are insisting that Christians must stop using the word “Allah” in reference to the Christian God.
The use of “Allah” as a translation of “God” in the Malay Bible “must be abandoned because it erroneously represents the two religions as equal,” said Mohd Sani Badron, a leading Islamic scholar.
Malaysia’s Catholic newspaper has won a decision in the nation’s supreme court, allowing the use of “Allah” in its pages to refer to God. But the paper is still unable to use that word, because government officials have appealed the decision. Christians explain that “Allah” has been used routinely as a word referring to the Supreme Being—not necessarily the Islamic deity. The renewed dispute comes during the same week when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak met with Pope Benedict XVI and made a commitment to establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican. The Malaysian leader said that his visit to the Vatican shows that although the country is officially Islamic, “we are an inclusive government.” Speaking of the nation’s Christian minority, he said: “We accept them. We can engage with them. We can have dialogue with them because we want to uphold peace in this world.”
A Pakistani girl who was allegedly kidnapped and forced to marry a Muslim man has told a high court that she will stay with him, said reports in the Vatican Insider and on Fides.
In tears, Farah Hatim appeared before the judge of the High Court of Punjab, Bahawalpur section. When the judge asked her the question “which family do you choose”, the girl, after an interminable silence, replied: “Both.” The Court argued that “this is impossible”, the question was repeated. At that point, Farah chose her new Muslim family. Continue reading →