Thursday, 31 December 2009

Malaysian court rules non-Muslims may call God Allah

The BBC reports on a landmark ruling by the High Court in Malaya that Christians have a constitutional right to use the word Allah when referring to God. The word "Allah" was used by Arab Christians to refer to God long before Islam was founded.

"The High Court said a government ban on non-Muslims using the word was unconstitutional.

The court was ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Herald, a publication of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, in 2007.

The authorities had insisted that Allah was an Islamic word which could only be used by Muslims.

The BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur said some Muslim groups suspect the Catholic Church is seeking to encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity - a move which is illegal in Malaysia.

'Glorious new year'

The issue had become a symbol of a growing number of religious grievances among minority groups, in a political environment often divided along racial and religious lines, our correspondent adds.

The Herald filed for a judicial review after it was temporarily ordered to stop publishing in 2007 for referring to "Allah".

The publication said it had been been using the word for decades, and had a constitutional right to do so.

The Herald welcomed Thursday's ruling, saying it would be a "glorious new year for some 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia".

More than half of Malaysia's population is Muslim but the large Chinese and Indian communities are mainly Christian, Buddhist or Hindu.
Of course this does not mean that Christian and Islamic understandings of God are compatible, simply that it is not inconsistent or wrong for Arab Christians to refer to God as 'Allah'. In the Christian revelation he has revealed himself fully and finally in Yeshua (Hebrew), Isa (Arabic) or Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-4).

Source: BBC

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Route of Hope: Book Launch

Our daughter Katie has just published her first book of poetry. The book launch took place at the Fox and Hounds, Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, Surrey on Saturday 12th December. You can view photos here.

At least 10% of the profits from the book are being donated to Umthombo and their work among homeless street children in Durban, South Africa.

Priced £4.99, you may pre-order copies from Katie or from Amazon

For more information see Katie's website

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

EU Insists Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine and Israel

It is encouraging to see mainstream Jewish sites like J Street endorsing the EU Council Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process on the need for two democratic states of Israel and Palestine, an end to the illegal settlements and a shared Jerusalem.

That the ADL find the report 'deeply flawed and counterproductive' is immensely heartening.

The sooner the UN recognises the existence of the State of Palestine the better.

Amnesty Europe highlights the inconsistencies within the EU position.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Archbishop Jensen on the Gay Episcopal Election in Los Angeles

Statement by the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, on the Episcopal election in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

“The election (yet to be confirmed) of a partnered lesbian as Bishop in the Episcopal Church (TEC) is sad but not surprising.

Confirmation of this election will make clear beyond any doubt whatsoever that the TEC leadership has chosen to walk in a way which is contrary to scripture and will continue to do so.
This settled path that the TEC chooses is contrary to the expressed will of the majority of the Anglican Communion.

Further, it confirms the rightness of GAFCON in producing the Jerusalem Declaration and establishing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).

The aim of the FCA is to recognise and give fellowship to those who wish to remain faithful to God’s revealed word and also to defend and promote biblical teaching throughout the Communion.
It is all the more urgent that those who share the aims of the FCA should associate themselves with the movement and express their disapproval of actions which are contrary to scripture and contrary to historic Anglicanism.

Further, this gives the Archbishop of Canterbury every reason to act decisively and dissociate from the Episcopal Church and to recognise the Anglican Church of North America.”

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Scofield: Zionism's Un-Christian Bible

Maidhc Ó Cathail has written a provocative and thought provoking article about the influence of the Scofield Reference Bible on American fundamentalism and the Middle East. He shows how the Scofield Bible made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. 

"The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions for Palestine campaign should widen its scope to target non-Israeli companies who contribute significantly to the oppression of Palestinians. As part of this broader strategy, priority should be given to one of the most egregious offenders, the prestigious British publisher, Oxford University Press. As unlikely as it may seem, the world's largest university press is responsible for one of the greatest obstacles to justice for Palestinians – The Scofield Bible.

Since it was first published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. When John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, said that "50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel," it was the Scofield Bible that he was talking about.

Although the Scofield Reference Bible contains the text of the King James Authorized Version, it is not the traditional Protestant bible but Cyrus I. Scofield's annotated commentary that is the problem. More than any other factor, it is Scofield's notes that induced generations of American evangelicals to believe that God demands their uncritical support for the modern State of Israel"

Read more on Middle East Online

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a freelance writer living in Japan. He has written for, Dissident Voice, The Palestine Chronicle, OpEd News, Media Monitors Network and many other publications.

For a detailed refutation of Scofield's theology see here. My book Zion's Christian Soldiers deconstructs Scofield's flawed theology. You can order it here and here

Palestine Study Centre: Exeter University

A Palestine studies centre which has been set up at the University of Exeter has been described as "historic".

It will be part of the university's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), and directed by historian Professor Ilan Pappe.

The university said it was the first of its kind in Europe.Prof Pappe said the Palestine issue had been dominating European international politics for more than 60 years and the centre was "long overdue".

'Advance peace'
The opening of the centre was a "rectification of long scholarly neglect or, and academic disregard for, the Palestine issue", Prof Pappe said.The professor is known internationally for challenging traditional beliefs about the development of the Israel-Palestine situation.He said he was confident the centre would provide PhD students with a better understanding of the Palestine question and could also help to advance the chance of peace and reconciliation in the area.

Research director Professor Gareth Stansfield said: "Under Prof Pappe's guidance, Exeter will be taking a lead in a multi-disciplinary approach to defining the study of the modern Middle East and Islamic World."

Source: BBC News