For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 2 Mar 2014.
The Brunei Government has banned 19 Islamic words from use by non-Muslims in the small territory bordering Malaysia in the South China Sea, following a decision to implement Shari’ah law.
The words, which include Allah, long used by Christians to refer to God, can no longer be used in reference to other religions after new laws take effect in April.
The country rose this year from No. 27 to No. 24 on Open Doors’ World Watch List for severe Christian persecution. The country implements full Islamic law, considers pastors “enemies,” and monitors Christians through spies and the police. Parents who leave their children in the care of non-Muslims can be fined and jailed.
What many regard as barbaric acts and harsh penalties for mundane acts are not what Australians hear from Muslims advocating the introduction of Shari’ah law in this country. Yet its principles are based on the same religious texts and tradition.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.