Sunday, May 10, 2009
Religion and Politics.
Pope Benedict XVI in a speech to Muslim leaders in Amman said that "tensions and divisions, between the followers of different religious traditions, sadly cannot be denied...it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tensions and divisions, and at times even violence in society." (STP 10/5 p.34 World).
How true. What would happen if a Muslim religious head were to say this in Malaysia? There'd perhaps be a hue and cry from the politicians and the religious head could find himself in hot (nay, scalding) soup. He said further that "some maintain that religion fails in its claim to be, by nature, a builder of unity and harmony, an expression of communion between persons and with God."
The Pope also underlines his 'deep respect' for Islam.
This should be an eye-opener to the politicians and religious leaders in Malaysia. We all search for God and seek His blerssings in different ways, calling him by different names. Why should, therefore, be any suspicion, distrust and disrespect for each others faith and religion. Those who use religion for other than seeking the benigh grace of God, would be untrue to their own belief.
President Obama will also deliver a speech to the Muslim world in Egypt on June 4, " seeking to repair ties that were severely damaged under ..George Bush." Here's another indication that the Muslim world is ready to rectify spoilt relations based on 'mutual respect and understanding'. The example which Obama will set should prompt other western countries to review any misgivings they may have on Islam and the Muslims.
While these developments are most encouraging, the Muslim world itself should reexamine its own internal differences and belligerence towards each other. Especially the Muslim within the same country. Let Islam be 'the builder of unity and harmony'
as intended by the teachings of Allah and the al-Quran. When there's conflict and tension, examine whether it's the Islamic faith that creates it or motives other than religious.