Burning Buildings, Burning Books
So a preacher in Florida is going to burn a few copies of the Koran. Yawn.
This is supposed to be representative of ‘anti-muslim frenzy’ in America. Yawn.
That phrase came not from Muslims but from liberal church leaders in the US. Yawn.
I am not generally in favour of burning books. It tends to attract the wrong kind of people. But I have burnt a few. Some out of sheer boredom. Some because I was annoyed I had paid a couple of hour’s wages to buy what turned out to be a pile of steaming doggy do.
I have also burnt some for ethical or religious reasons. I habitually buy from book exchanges and local markets the colourful and misleading books churned out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons. They are usually on the 20c pile where they could be picked up by lonely and gullible housewives, and they make good fire starters.
I also burnt a copy of Silent Spring I found in a flea market. Probably no would have read it anyway, so that one was purely on principle.
The world would be a better place if some books had not been written. The Koran is one.
It is similar to Mein Kampf (Kampf means Jihad, so Herr Hitler, had he been writing in Arabic, would have written Mein Jihad).
Both are tedious and repetitive. Both are driven by a sense of being specially chosen, but of being kept down by lesser others, mostly nasty Jews. Both are happy to suggest that exterminating those vile creatures would make the world a better place. Both propose that some humans are not fully human. Both encourage the idea that individual freedoms must be subsumed to the fasces, the bundle, the mob, the over-arching purpose that drowns out any other human concerns.
Both leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
Is the Koran a book worth reading, let alone worth cherishing? No. Not in the least.
I wouldn’t want the last copy destroyed. It is important for historical reasons. But think about this (linked above):
On the plans to burn the Qu’ran the leaders, including Washington Roman Catholic archbishop emeritus Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Dr Michael Kinnamon of the National Council of Churches said they were “appalled by such disrespect for a sacred text”.
A sacred text? The Koran is as much a sacred text as my underpants. At least my underpants don’t go around telling people to smite the necks of anyone who disagrees with me, or that Christians are the most vile of creatures, or to kill Jews whereever they can be found. My underpants are pretty kindhearted by comparison.
It is sacred to Muslims. And that’s fine. Whatever.
So if the Florida Pastor’s Koran burning goes ahead, what will Muslims do? They have thoughtfully answered that question for us:
“It is the duty of Muslims to react,” said Mohammad Mukhtar, a cleric and candidate for the Afghan parliament in the Sept. 18 election. “When their holy book Quran gets burned in public, then there is nothing left. If this happens, I think the first and most important reaction will be that wherever Americans are seen, they will be killed. No matter where they will be in the world they will be killed.”
Oh. Right. Someone in Florida burns a couple of books, and you think the appropriate response, in fact the duty of Muslims everywhere, is to kill Americans wherever you see them.
Back on your meds, boyo. Except this is not a lone voice, a lone mad mullah. This is Islam.
A few more thoughts on this.
Muslims, of course have no problem with burning Bibles, or churches, or Jews, or Christians.
Only Muslims are permitted to live on the Arabian Peninsula. Bibles are confiscated and shredded, and those in whose possession they were found may be given seventy lashes.
And then there’s the fact the Christian families affected by the floods in Pakistan are being openly denied aid, which has almost entirely been given by Christian countries.
The fact that some Mulims are hypocritical violent barbarians would not excuse our acting in the same way.
But burning a few Korans is not acting in the same way.
Burning a few Korans is not the same thing as raping children, hanging gays, stoning or mutilating women, bombing airplanes and hotels, or cutting the throats of people who disagree with you.
One of the problems, and it is potentially a very serious problems for Westerners working in Muslim countries, especially members of the armed forces, is that Muslims living in Muslim countries simply cannot conceive the meaning of real freedom of speech. It is incomprehensible to them that President Obama could not just say ‘Stop that’ and that Pastor Jones and his flock would be made to stop.
That is why people like Hilary Clinton, and assorted liberal politicians and clergy have to keep saying how shocking and unamerican this is. Because otherwise the entire Muslim world will think all Americans are in on this, which would make it a moral obligation to slaughter them. See above.
But that kind of Chamberlainism just doesn’t work. For one thing, Muslim leaders don’t believe it. They think the authorities could stop the Koran burning if they wanted, but they don’t so they must be OK with it. So not only are they anti-Muslim, they are also lying cowards.
But even if the sheikhs and mullahs did believe it, appeasing bullies does not work. It just makes them feel stronger, and demand more.
I am regularly confronted by insults directed at Jesus and the Christian faith which I find offensive and hurtful.
The calumny heaped on all Catholic clergy for the sins of a tiny minority. The smug and easy challenges of the art world with its piss Christ and dung Mary. South Park’s depictions of an insipid, do nothing Jesus. The puerile and deliberately offensive t shirt which proclaims ‘Jesus sucks.’ The appropriation and misuse of Christian symbols and music in an ad for Daylesford by Visit Victoria.
All of these stupid and empty-headed things are part of our daily lives.
But I am not going to bomb the offices of Visit Victoria, or send anthrax spores to the creators of South Park. Not because I am a good or patient person. I am not not. I can be as intemperate, sullen and hypocritical as anyone.
But I am a Christian. The person I follow as my Lord told me to do good to people who hate me, to pray for those who persecute me. And he exemplified that teaching in his life and death.
So those who insult Jesus or the Church, or abuse the Bible, earn my prayers, my concern, my hope and work for their redemption.
That reaction by Christians is, or should be, perfectly predictable. Christians do, or should do, what Jesus did.
The reaction to those who insult Mohammed or the Koran by those who take the Koran as their guide is predictable in the same way.
Mohammed personally beheaded some 700 Qurayza, and took and raped whom he wanted of their wives. Any oppostiion to his views, no matter how mild, was met with violence.
The violent response of the Muslim world to the burning of 200 copies of the Koran is not a justifiable expression of indignation. It is monstrous, cowardly, and barbaric.
It is also, quite simply, an expression of the enduring character of Islam, because it is an expression of the teaching of the Koran and the example of Mohammed.