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A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims.

Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television on Monday that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word “Allah” while celebrating Mass.

“Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn’t we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? … What does God care what we call him? It is our problem.”…

A survey in the Netherlands’ biggest-selling newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday found 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled disagreed with the bishop’s view, which also drew ridicule.

“Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun,” Welmoet Koppenhol wrote in a letter to the newspaper…

A spokesman from the union of Moroccan mosques in Amsterdam said Muslims had not asked for such a gesture.

Here’s background describing the latest twist in interfaith relations in Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ex-homeland. In his own craven, dopey way, the bishop might have been trying to heal the rift. While succeeding in opening it further.

Update: More from Catholic News. It may take 100 years, says Bishop Tiny, but eventually Christians will come around.

Not the first time he’s said this, either, apparently. Nor is it the first time he’s commented on Islam:

In the past, Bishop Muskens has offended many Muslims. In 2005 he said Islam was a religion without a future because it had too many violent aspects.

If it has no future then why would Christians be calling God “Allah” in the future per his prediction?

Tags: Islam religion