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  #1  
Old August 15, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Default Dutch Bishop: Lets call God Allah

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AMSTERDAM - 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.

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."

A survey in the Netherlands' biggest-selling newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday found 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled disagreed with the bishop's view, which also drew ridicule.

"Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun," Welmoet Koppenhol wrote in a letter to the newspaper.

Gerrit de Fijter, chairman of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, told the paper he welcomed any attempt to "create more dialogue", but added: "Calling God 'Allah' does no justice to Western identity. I see no benefit in it."

A spokesman from the union of Moroccan mosques in Amsterdam said Muslims had not asked for such a gesture.
Full story here

Interesting way to "foster understanding". I personally dont know how itll help matters. Would you ask for such a gesture?
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Last edited by Farhad; August 15, 2007 at 01:13 PM..
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  #2  
Old August 15, 2007, 01:18 PM
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One can't impose his/her will on to others. All you can do is convey.

This is a good gesture by the priest. If the citizens accept it why not? Allah has more beautiful names. Like the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the Allknowing etc.
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  #3  
Old August 15, 2007, 03:21 PM
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  #4  
Old August 15, 2007, 03:38 PM
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first ban on Quran, and then this..... hehe (thats all I have for them, 'hehe')....
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  #5  
Old August 15, 2007, 04:12 PM
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the Dutch still have Bishops? and religion?
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  #6  
Old August 16, 2007, 12:27 AM
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All I can say is that Dutch are very unique people.
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  #7  
Old August 16, 2007, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammark
the Dutch still have Bishops? and religion?
the congregations might be much smaller than they were fifty years ago but the institutions prevail. the dutch reform church still has quite a strong missionary commitment in parts of africa. it should be noted that all the reformed churches in various parts of europe had seen much decline in terms of congregational attendance over the last thirty years. the church of england is in major decline and church buildings are sold each week in parts of the country. secularisation, changing work practises, changing social and gender structure are often seen as the causes of this change.

interestingly, the catholic church had been doing rather better everywhere. here in britain, for the first time since reformation there are more catholic christian attending services in the country. it is largely due to eastern european immigrant workers from poland and slovakia being rather more religious in their lifestyle than the english. catholicism had seen a major revival in europe in general. it could be a cultural response to many seeing their muslim neighbours having such strong faith in their god?

america is quite distinct as a religious map compared to anglo-german-dutch countries. catholicism and protestantism, in its various constituent forms are still thriving in small town america and even the large metropolis churches are often well attended.

on a personal note, one of my best friends gave up his high flying acedemic career (he was head of the department of religious studies at the age of 30 in a small but prestigious uk university college) to be ordained as a church of england minister. i visited him several times at oxford during his training. for those who don't know the process of training for being a church of england vicar, it basically involves a practical course as well as a one year post graduate course taught by a university. the mth (master of theology) or perhaps a research postgraduate degree such as an mphil or phd usually accompany the typical young vicar. in trystan's case he did an mth as he already had a phd from several years ago. during the practical training part of his course he spent some time here in south wales as well as a three month stint in a major church in washington dc.

one of the surprising aspects of church attendance is that how welcome the non-believer is made to feel. i have attended a lot of church services over the years as i have had a lot of friends who went into the (christian) ministry. the local vicar is a friend of mine as we both attended the same night class on classical arabic (yes the local church of england vicar went to a night class to learn arabic!) and i had often been invited to his church's interfaith dialogue seminars and meetings.

i once went to pelham warner's local church on an ocassion when i had stayed overnight at his house. the sunday service had thirty five people all above the age of sixty five! on another ocassion, a mutual friend of ours turhan khaqar, now an associate professor at a prestigious turkish university, had stayed with pelham and we went to the same church. turhan was asked to speak on christianity in a muslim country within the context of religion in turkey for ten minutes after a sunday congregation. turhan's academic speciality is 'early church history' in turkey but he is as devout a muslim as i have ever seen.

just to put a different stance on things, just after americans and british troops invaded iraq, my local vicar friend wanted to attend a local mosque on friday and formally apologise to all the muslims who would have gathered there for prayer. he had gone to the anti-war march in london and wanted to let the muslims in his parish know that most 'good' christians were against this unfair invasion. however, the syltei imam and the mosque council would not allow him entrace to the mosque!
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  #8  
Old August 16, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck
... however, the syltei imam and the mosque council would not allow him entrace to the mosque!
Its a pity! Some of these "half-imams" have very little understanding about Islam. More often than not, they are "imported" from Desh and are totally out of touch with the local culture and politics. Fortunately, things are begenning to change as more and more locally trained Imams are joining the Mosques.
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  #9  
Old August 16, 2007, 01:17 PM
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btw, I just wonder why you took the trouble to point out that the imam was from Sylhet? :-)
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  #10  
Old August 16, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Too many brownies...
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  #11  
Old August 16, 2007, 03:33 PM
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What's the whole Brouhaha. If you call god a "goru" he would still be a god and vice-versa.
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  #12  
Old August 16, 2007, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alien
All I can say is that Dutch are very unique people.
Indeed they are. They are the only people on this planet who are called Dutch.
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  #13  
Old August 16, 2007, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanCricFan
btw, I just wonder why you took the trouble to point out that the imam was from Sylhet? :-)
because he was from sylet
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  #14  
Old August 16, 2007, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck
one of the surprising aspects of church attendance is that how welcome the non-believer is made to feel. i have attended a lot of church services over the years as i have had a lot of friends who went into the (christian) ministry. the local vicar is a friend of mine as we both attended the same night class on classical arabic (yes the local church of england vicar went to a night class to learn arabic!) and i had often been invited to his church's interfaith dialogue seminars and meetings.

....however, the syltei imam and the mosque council would not allow him entrace to the mosque!
I'm not surprised. I have had many a discussion on religion and theology with an ethiopian coptic minister who was a post-graduate student at our college's divinity school, and ate his meals at our table. He had told me then that their curriculum included courses on Islam and Arabic, and it was required for them to either do these courses or take substitute courses on other world religions.

The only place I have come across embracing and tolerant imams by contrast is at my university or the downtown masjid here in toronto. I'm not surprised that (and mind you this is *my* generalisation... and specific to Toronto) at the small mosques in the immigrant ghettoes, as the older diaspora community often wants imams who would cater to their mindset and issues of salvation, the imams do not actively speak of engaging the community with the non-muslim society at large. There seems to be a genuine incapability or disinterest in these mosques to do some outreach and make a positive impression on the wider non-muslim host society. Secondly the city here is extremely multi-ethnic and is composed mainly of multi-national immigrant areas than of the white 4th generation Canadian. Its always the larger, organised, well-funded suburban mosques instead that seem to engage in this outreach, interfaith dialogues and political activism with the greater canadian mainstream.

The bit about the Dutch I said was an offhanded remark which I didnt expect a serious response from. I have never been to the Netherlands, however I have travelled a little bit in Western Europe and interacted a little bit with Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Scandinavian and English students... aside from the North American bunch at my university. On the few occasions that I have been able to gauge religiousness in my fellow students (mostly in first and second year), often times they have expressed their disillusionment with any organised religion and have considered it a barrier to progress, in the sense that religion is often perceived to be at odds with dispassionate academic and scientific work. Their morality may be founded on Christianity, however their philosophies no longer are about spirituality in life but more agnostic existentialism.

I guess I made a general extension and assumed that the educated Western European student/youth would probably have similar values. Furthermore, from having been in certain countries/cities of Western Europe (and from the media), I do think Europe is a far more liberal, less conservative place than North America hands down. For the most part I perceive Western European societies to be in a post-modern state, vigourously defensive of the complete removal of religion from public life, while upholding values that tolerate all forms of diversity, and thus it includes hedonism and materialism as a lifestyle ...which seems to be greatly at odds with the austerity of religion.
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  #15  
Old August 16, 2007, 07:22 PM
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in general christians are very welcoming of non believers...i can speak from experience having myself attended a fair share of bible studies, and church events.

openness is the key to attracting converts...though our mosque does a fair job, i'd imagine.
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  #16  
Old August 16, 2007, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammark
For the most part I perceive Western European societies to be in a post-modern state, vigourously defensive of the complete removal of religion from public life, while upholding values that tolerate all forms of diversity, and thus it includes hedonism and materialism as a lifestyle ...which seems to be greatly at odds with the austerity of religion.
this is certainly true of england and wales, france, germany, the lowlands and the scandinavian countries. the former communist block as well as greece and italy are a little more religiously minded.
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Old August 16, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Sahastra
What's the whole Brouhaha. If you call god a "goru" he would still be a god and vice-versa.
indeed, as al-arabi said, it's the invocation that makes god..
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