Amsterdam, Netherlands, Aug 15, 2007 / 07:15 am
Bishop Martinus Muskens of Breda, Netherlands, suggested in an interview with Radio Netherlands that Christians should refer to God as Allah, which would promote better relations with Muslims.
The 71-year-old bishop told the program that he believes God doesn’t mind what he is called. He believes people are needlessly divided over the different names used to refer to God.
The bishop, who had worked in Indonesia, noted that even Christians use the term Allah for God there. The Dutch should learn to get on spontaneously with different cultures, religions and behavior patterns:
"Someone like me has prayed to Allah yang maha kuasa (Almighty God) for eight years in Indonesia and other priests for 20 or 30 years. In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can't we start doing that together?" he was quoted as saying.
Bishop Muskens admitted that he did not think his suggestion would be welcomed readily and that it would take about 100 years before Catholics would feel comfortable calling God “Allah”.