Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Groups back call for non-Muslim office
Opinion divided over plan to establish office for non-Islamic affairsA Muslim group in Penang protests against the establishment of a new office for non-Muslim affairs
- ucanews.com reporter, Penang
- February 23, 2011
Anglican Bishop Andrew Phang said his Church supports the northern¬†state in establishing a state executive office portfolio for non-Islamic affairs.
The move¬†is ‚Äúa wonderful thing,‚ÄĚ he told an Anglican Southeast Asia provincial gathering¬†yesterday in Penang.
‚ÄúMuslims have long been¬†well taken care of. However,¬†[Christian] people need help¬†finding burial grounds and approval for proper places of worship. Right now, we do not have proper [church] buildings and¬† have to use shophouses as places of worship,‚ÄĚ¬†he explained
Earlier, an inter-religious consultative¬†body issued a press statement praising Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng for setting up the new¬†office.
The statement, signed by¬†its president Reverend Thomas Philips of the Mar Thoma Church, also urged Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak to support¬†Penang's¬†move, reminding¬†¬†him that he had called on world leaders at the UN last September ‚Äúto embark on building a global movement of¬†moderates from all faiths who are committed to working together to combat and marginalize extremists who have held the world hostage with their bigotry and bias.‚ÄĚ
Announcing the new office last week, Lim said, ‚ÄúThis portfolio is timely as it promotes diversity and positive human interaction in cultural, religious and social spheres.‚ÄĚ
Lim, the only non-Muslim state chief minister in Malaysia, will head the new office.
According to media reports, Mujahid Yusuf Rawa , unity bureau chief of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), also supported¬†Penang's move, reportedly¬†saying the new¬†non-Islamic office is acceptable since there¬† already¬†is an¬†office for Islamic affairs.
However, a group of Muslim NGOs in Penang held a¬†protest on February 18 opposing the new office.
Group leader Arshad Kassim¬† condemned the use of the word "Islamic" in the office's official title.
The word ‚ÄúIslamic‚ÄĚ should not be used by non-Muslims as it may confuse people, he said.
He¬†also claimed¬†the state is currently allowing too many haram (forbidden) buildings, referring to temples and other houses of worship.