Monday, January 11, 2010

"Allah" Hate Crimes Continue in Malaysia

I see in this morning’s Chicago Tribune that it is now 9 houses of Christian worship that have been fire bombed in the Muslim Majority country of Malaysia.

Malaysia is a patchwork of diverse cultures and races and spread out on the top of Indonesia. Malaysia consists of an urban rich part on the Malaysian Peninsula that juts out of Thailand and Burma. At the very bottom of that Peninsula is the Republic of Singapore. On the other side of a distance of about five hundred miles across the South China Sea are the two rural provinces of Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah, on the northern end of the island of Borneo.

It is in these rural provinces that the use of the word Allah as a substitute with G-d was used in a Catholic Newspaper and read by the native aborigine cultures in these rural provinces, that sparked the court case that sparked the current round of hate in Malaysia.

Malaysian churches attacked with firebombs
...Malaysian churches were attacked with firebombs, causing extensive damage to one, as Muslims pledged today to prevent Christians from using the word "Allah", escalating religious tensions in the multiracial country.

Many Malay Muslims, who make up 60% of the population, are incensed by a recent high court decision to overturn a ban on Roman Catholics using Allah as a translation for God in the Malay-language edition of their main newspaper, the Herald.

The government had said that Allah, an Arabic word that predates Islam, was exclusive to the faith. It refused to make an exception, even though the Herald's Malay edition is read only by Christian indigenous tribes in the remote states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Malaysia may be diverse in populations but a 50% native Malay population dominates the other minorities of 23% Chinese, 11% Indigenous, 6% Indian and an assortment of native peoples. That over this is a 60% Muslim religious majority over 19% Buddhist, 9% Christian, 6% Hindu populations. Quite a mix.

These fire bombings of Christian Churches seems to be in the rural areas. Only one church has burnt down totally as I can tell from reports. The other churches are damaged by mostly firebombs tossed in the middle of the night off of speeding motor bikes. In a sense, it is rural hooliganism mixed with native fears of all outside cultures and the issue being multiplied in the mosques and media center of Kuala Lumpur, the biggest city on the Peninsula.

Rural Hooliganism or not, we in America call fire bombings of any house of worship a hate crime.

Hate in the name of Allah, God or whoever is still hate. Hate is a human thing I think and not something necessary attributed to deities.

The government of Malaysia had better get some crowd control and common sense put on this rural issue, with the big city Clerics now chiming in, before the “religion of peace” once against demonstrates how truly inflexible it is in trying to live with other points of view and other religious persuasions on this diverse global planet.

6:45 AM EST USA - I stand corrected by Anonymous 6:32 on the geographic locations of these bombings.
Actually the first 5 firebombed churches are located in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur (KL). 3 more cases spread out of KL, one church and a convent school in northern Malaysia and today another church is southern KL.

The general mood among non-muslim is now very tense and cautious.
It would seem these attacks are more central and urban. Problem for me in reading many western papers is that I do not get or have a true sense of the local geography.

7:11 AM EST USA - to put some scale and perspective on this, it is 8:11 PM (MYT) in Kuala Lumpur just past sunset.