Thursday, January 22, 2015

‘Allah’ is for all, says New York imam

BY LEE SHI-IAN AND LOW HAN SHAUN

Shamsi Ali says the use of the term 'Allah' should not be dictated by Muslims. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, January 21, 2015.

Shamsi Ali says the use of the term 'Allah' should not be dictated by Muslims. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, January 21, 2015.
The use of the word "Allah" should not be exclusively for Muslims, an Indonesian-American imam argued today, saying it was wrong and unacceptable.
"Allah is God, and God is Allah. It is not my right to stop someone from calling God 'Allah'," said Shamsi Ali, chairman of the Al-Hikmah mosque in Astoria, New York.
"If I limit the word 'Allah' to be owned only by 1.6 billion Muslims, then I am degrading the authority of Allah for being the God of 7 billion people," Shamsi said, defending the non-Muslims' use of the Arabic word for God.
"It is wrong and unacceptable. Who gives the right to Muslims to have the right only to use that word?" asked Shamsi after taking part in a forum at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia campus in Kuala Lumpur.
Shamsi said the use of the word “Allah” was a religious issue which should not have been politicised.
"This is my pure religious response and has nothing to do with politics.”
He said anything that was against any religion should not be accepted by anyone.
"I believe that any anti-religion is a crime. If my Jewish friend was being attacked I would help him, if my Christian friend is attacked by other people, I would help them, too.
"The Quran does not deny other religions, in fact, it acknowledges them," he said.
Shamsi said that the only reason that God created different people was for them to learn how to coexist with each other.
"Muslims tend to forget that it should be a challenge to change people's mindset from hating you to loving you."
The “Allah” issue has been raging in Malaysia since 2009 when the Home Ministry prohibited the use of the word in the Catholic weekly Herald.
The long-running saga, which has sparked fierce controversy and debates, finally ended today when the Federal Court dismissed the Catholic Church's review application. – January 21, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/allah-is-for-all-says-new-york-imam#sthash.Zv76kTaT.dpuf

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