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Allah/God

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?

Submitted by Mustafa Clark (United States), Jun 28, 2005 at 19:41

When Mr. Pipes quoted Pat Robertson's ignorant and divisive remark about "...Hubal, the Moon God of Mecca.." in the second paragraph of his essay I thought, "Oh no, please do not descend to this level unbridgeable bigotry." Thankfully Mr. Pipes does not. He makes a sound case for accepting that "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for God. And if Muslims accept this, and are willing to refrain from immediately adding "but..." followed by theological qualifications that exclude monotheistic non-Muslims from being in the big tent of those who believe in and worship Allah/God, then Muslims need to use consistent language to avoid exacerbating the general misunderstanding that Muslims believe their God is not the same as the God of Christians and Jews.

Muslims should avoid the confusion and divisiveness that is fostered when we insist on using "Allah" instead of "God" when talking or writing English, especially when we are outside our mosques and homes. It is remarkable how much easier it is to put non-Muslims at ease during a conversation if we concentrate a bit and refrain from saying "Allah" and instead say "God." Obviously and regrettably the Muslim community has its share of Pat Robertsons, peddlers of fear and hate who teach that Christians are polytheists and Jews are the embodiment of evil. (Shia Muslims, like myself, are threatened by their ilk all the time.) Believers of good will and tolerance within the different faiths do not have to pretend that there are no important theological differences between us, but we must get past the manmade barriers that have been erected--often through the use of exclusionary language--between us. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.
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