By Elizabeth O’Brien
AMSTERDAM, August 15, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Dutch Catholic bishop, with a history of dissident teaching, has encouraged Catholic faithful to pray to God as "Allah" in order to promote a better relationship between Catholics and Muslims, Catholic World News reports.
On Monday evening Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens of the diocese of Breda told the Dutch television station "Network", "God doesn’t really care how we address Him." God is, said the bishop, above "discussion and bickering".
The 71-year old bishop also said that although many might disagree with him at present, Dutch Catholics would refer to God as "Allah" in future. The bishop worked as a missionary in Indonesia over thirty years ago, and here Catholics refer to God as Allah, he said. According to the Radio Netherlands reports, the two names are also interchangeable in the Middle East.
"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?"
"Of course it is something we would have to prepare thoroughly and lengthily and contemplate extensively," he is quoted as saying in the NIH News Bulletin.
His words come shortly after the remarks of Geert Wilder, head of the Netherlands Freedom Party, who stated that the Qur’an should be outlawed because it "incites hatred and killing". He wrote that the book therefore "has no place in our legal order."
Bishop Muskens is also said to have suggested that the national holiday Whit-Monday be replaced with an Islamic holiday.
Responses to the report were not positive. They included one American woman saying, "Is there a reason that Christians must pray to Allah instead of Muslims praying to God? Isn’t that a double standard, with all the give on one side and all the take on the other?" And another stated, "Rapprochement requires accepting our differences, not changing our practices in this case."
In 2006 Muskens created scandal by traveling to Ughanda in order to promote anti-AIDS activists, who support condom use. Dissenting from the teaching of the Catholic Church, Muskens stated, "It is permissible to opt for the lesser evil of condom use to prevent the greater evil of AIDS."
Read Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Dutch Bishop Pushes Condoms Undermining Uganda’s AIDS Abstinence Success Story