First off, I'm not a very religious person. I am Christian, but I don't attend church. All the same, this upsets me very much.
This whole thing started when a Catholic church used the word 'Allah' in one of their weekly publications. The Muslims got wind of it somehow and did a bunk since 'Allah' is the name of their god and we non-Muslims apparently aren't allowed to use it, which is news to me. They were having protests and stuff and the whole country was talking about it.
Today, three churches were attacked. One of them got its windows busted and was razed, and the other two had molotov cocktails thrown into them. My friend belongs to one of the churches that got molotov-ed.
In a couple areas here, including the one where I live, cars with Christian articles in them are getting smashed. Their windows, presumably, since the precautionary SMSes that are being forwarded don't say. Christians are being asked to remove all Christian articles from their cars to avoid their cars being attacked.
People are fearing for their church, afraid that theirs will be the next to burn. I walked home from Physics tuition today in my Christian Fellowship T-shirt before having heard about all this. At dinner, we were joking how I was lucky I didn't get pushed into a monsoon drain or something.
Now I'll tell you what's so rich about all this. If I'm not mistaken, a lot of people -- both Muslim and non -- actually use 'Allah' quite a bit. It's just pretty much a Malaysian term, I think. When we're disappointed or let down, we say, " 'Lah!" which I think translates to 'Allah'. We use it pretty freely, in front of Muslim friends, and no one has an issue with it.
Another thing is that the government launched this campaign to promote unity in the country, 1Malaysia. The idea of the name is that even though we have so many races and (*cough*) religions here, we all unite as one because we are Malaysians. And then, you know, stuff like this happens.
It's just...agh. Religion is a very touchy subject and I wouldn't be able to see things from the Muslims' point of view, so I suppose I shouldn't really say anything. I will say, though, that it is horribly wrong of them to respond with the non-Muslims being allowed to use the word 'Allah' with violence. Violence does nothing but exacerbate matters; it adds fuel to the fire, which this blaze really doesn't need. To my knowledge, it isn't against the law (yet) for non-Muslims to use the word 'Allah', whereas burning buildings and smashing cars most certainly are.
Sigh. News like this gets me so riled-up, and then I feel so tired. All we can really do is be wary and pray for things to get better, I suppose. Thank God the churches that got razed were empty at the time. Also, I think the molotovs that were thrown into The Life Chapel were discovered before they actually went off. Maybe things aren't so bad after all.
Whatever your religion is, please pray for Malaysia. It really isn't going to look pretty if things get worse and the Christians start retaliating, which I hope we have the grace not to do.