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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

No more 'Allah' for Christians, Malaysian court rules

By Simon Roughneen



Muslim demonstrators chant slogans outside Malaysia's Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur




Move raises questions over minority rights in the Muslim-majority country


JewishWorldReview.com |

mUALA LUMPUR— (TCSM) In the latest round of a divisive political and religious saga, a Malaysian court ruled that the word "Allah" can only be used by the country's Muslim majority, overturning a previous decision that allowed other faiths using the term to denote "G0D" in their local-language services and Scriptures.

Malaysia's Court of Appeal issued an expansive ruling that sparked surprise and anger throughout the country. At the court in Malaysia's administrative capital, Putrajaya, Justice Mohamed Apandi read a brief summary of the 100-plus-page judgment. "Our common finding is that the usage of Allah is not an integral part of the Christian faith. We cannot find why the parties are so adamant on the usage of the word," he said.

"Allah" has been used in Christian worship among Malay speakers for centuries, much as it's used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Christians in Indonesia, where the national language is a close cousin of Malaysian, without any controversy. The word passed into local languages over six centuries ago, as Arab traders plied Southeast Asia's seas.

But in recent years Christian use of the word has become a political football in Malaysia, with an argument's that it's part of a stealth conversion campaign by the country's Roman Catholic and Protestant minority used as a form of identity politics.

The decision, which came at the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage, was officially based on the government's argument that allowing non-Muslims to continue to use the word could rile up Muslim hard-liners and help Christians to proselytize. But Malaysia experts say the ruling, which follows a May election in which the ruling National Front coalition lost the popular vote for the first time (though it retained power), was sought to firm up political support among the country's ethnic Malay and mostly-Muslim majority.

The election turned on the fight for the rural Malay Muslim vote, with the National Front's faith and fatherland pitch a key factor in swaying that segment of the electorate. Rural votes returned the government to power even as it lost the election in urban areas.

Mohamed Bin Nawab Mohammed Osman of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore says that the ruling is "an attempt by the government to assuage the insecurities of the Malay community about Islam's supreme position in the country."



Malaysia's politics have turned on ethnic identity since independence. For decades, the government's New Economic Policy provided preferences in government contracting and education to the Malay majority, under the argument that the country's significant ethnic-Chinese and Indian minorities had an economic leg up on the Malays during British rule. The largest party in the National Front is called the United Malay National Organization (UMNO), and has usually governed with ethnic-Chinese and Indian-based parties as its junior partners.

The "Allah issue" came up during the latest election campaign, with the opposition saying Christians should be allowed to use "Allah." The Front countered that an opposition win would diminish Islam, and political analysts say it was a successful wedge issue in driving ethnic Malays to the polls.

UMNO is a nationalist party, not a religion-based one. And the country's largest Islamist party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, is opposed to denying Christians and other religious minorities a word that's long been common in their worship.


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Lawrence Andrew is a Catholic priest and editor of The Herald, a Catholic newsletter. The Herald won a 2009 judgement giving it permission to use Allah in local language publications after a decade-long legal battle. That ruling was overturned today. "We will appeal this ruling and no doubt this statement by the court will be a part of it," Andrews told the Monitor, speaking outside the Court of Appeal.

While it was expected that the court would rule against the Herald, the wording has taken people aback. "It was surprising in the global sense as Allah has been used by Christians to refer to God around the world," says Ei Sun Oh, a former adviser to Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak.

But the ruling is not a surprise "in the Malaysian sense," he says. Around 6 out 10 Malaysians are Muslim. The remainder are a mix of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh. By law, all Malays — the majority ethnic group from which the country's name derives — are Muslims and subject to Islamic law.

But Malaysia is a country of many beliefs and tribes, with around a quarter of the 29 million population of Chinese descent. Another 7 percent are of Indian, usually Tamil, descent. Most Chinese-Malaysians voted for the opposition in the last election, sparking allegations of "treachery" by pro-government newspapers. And in recent weeks the government has reneged on preelection pledges to cut back on the longstanding pro-Malay subsidies and preferential treatment in areas like education that have alienated minority groups, particularly the Chinese-Malaysians.

Monday's ruling will likely be seen as another example of official favoritism toward ethnic Malays. "The rest of the world will be curious about the decision, but as they say, Malaysian Muslims are unique since Islam is tied constitutionally to a definition of an ethnic group," says James Chin, a politics professor at Monash University's Malaysia campus.



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© 2013, The Christian Science Monitor

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