A Dutch Catholic bishop has suggested that Christians should refer to God as "Allah" to promote better relations with Muslims.
Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens of Breda told the "Network" television show that "God doesn't really care how we address Him."
Pointing out that "Allah" is a term already used by Christians who speak Arabic, Bishop Muskens said that humans are needlessly divided over such terminology. God, the bishop said, is above such "bickering."
The Dutch bishop admitted that his suggestion was not likely to gain widespread acceptance. But he predicted that within a century or two, Dutch Catholics would be addressing prayers to "Allah."
Bishop Muskens has a history of creating occasional controversy within the Church. He has broken with Vatican leadership to endorse the use of condoms as a means of preventing the spread of AIDS, and in 2006 he traveled to Uganda to endorse the work of a group called Stop AIDS Now, which emphasized condom distribution.