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1. Editorial

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Article title: 
1. Editorial
Publishers: 
Year: 
2007
Week: 
33
Article number: 
1
Date of source: 
12-11-2007
Author: 
Drs. Cornelis Hulsman
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Article summary: 

Statements by Dutch Bishop Tiny Muskens on a Dutch TV program on the use of the name Allah and God by Muslims and Christians.
Sāmih Fawzī believes there is a need to enact a law that regulates the issue of conversion.

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The personal motto of Dutch Bishop Tiny Muskens is “Peace, Justice and Completeness for the entire Creation in connection with God.” The entire creation includes, of course, people of all faiths. In an interview with the Dutch TV program Network the bishop explained that Christians in many Muslim countries speak of Allāh and pray to Allāh. This is understandable since these Christians live in a predominantly Muslim environment. The bishop adopts a stance against those Christians and Muslims who claim God and Allāh are not the same. Until here I understand and agree with the bishop. The bishop, according to the article at least, also says it could take another 100 years before the name Allāh will be used in Dutch churches [art. 8]. This statement, if the quote is accurate, would presume that that Europe would be predominantly Muslim, why would European Christians otherwise start using the word Allāh That statement, if true, I would certainly not have made. Some Islamic preachers make similar statements, intending of course to present their belief in the victory of Islam in Europe. Christians should not add similar statements to this.
Sāmih Fawzī argues against what I would call polemicists and believes that there is a need to enact a law that regulates the issue of conversion, so that conversion would eventually become an individual’s decision that does not create any crises [art. 2]. Fawzī is certainly right that regulations are needed to avoid sectarian tensions such as we see now with the conversion of Muḥammad Ḥijāzī [art. 3] and other conversion cases. Sulaymān Shafīq considers discussing such issues in the Egyptian mass media to be a great breakthrough toward full freedom of expression, as in the recent past these issues were seen as untouchable taboos. Sulaymān Shafīq, however, also argues that the media appeared to handle these issues from biased perspectives that serve certain interests. Media coverage of these thorny issues may have increased controversy and created more tension, he correctly added [art. 5]
Dr. ‘Amr al-Shubakī wrote an interesting article about those who trade in Coptic problems. He correctly states that Copts are Egyptian citizens who share the same social problems as their Muslim compatriots, but they also suffer from discrimination in assuming public posts and from some restrictions on their religious freedom. The Christian responses, however, have not helped Christians to adequately deal with these problems. They retreated into isolation and many have become intolerant toward Muslims [art. 12].
Muḥammad Mamdūḥ ‘Abd al-Salām wrote the governor of Marsá Matrūḥ, General Muhammad al-Shaḥḥāt, highlighted the problem of government institutions, with authority over the government properties, fighting over the ownership of territories and estates. According to the governor, the church bought the land that belonged to governorate from the New Urban Communities Authority, which he claims did not have the authority to sell a governorate’s property [art. 13]. But should the church suffer for mistakes made by government institutions?

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