A church calling itself the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida has decided to commemorate 9/11 by burning copies of the Koran. The church gives 10 reasons why it is doing this, mostly having to do with the fact that Islam disputes Christianity.
However, one wonders what the purpose of this exercise is besides just venting. It is true that the World Trade Center was taken down and 3,000 innocents were slaughtered in the name of Islam. It is also true that a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam is very antithetical to the values of Western civilization. Some of the reasons that the Dove World Outreach Center give for its Koran-burning exercise have some truth to them.
Indeed, the plan to burn copies of the Koran seem to stem out of a weariness of some people constantly showing tolerance for a faith that has, by and large, not returned the favor. Yes, we know that the assassins of 9/11 were not exercising the values of most Muslims nor, strictly speaking, many of the teachings of the Koran. But it would be nice, one supposes, if more Muslims would say so.
The 9/11 Mosque controversy is a case in point. Many American Muslims recognize how building such an edifice so close to Ground Zero is an affront. But the people behind the plan and certain political enablers like President Obama and New York Mayor Bloomberg seem to be deaf to the entreaties of family and friends of the victims about how hurtful the plan is.
But a Christian church such as the Dove World Outreach Center should remember the teachings of Jesus when considering burning copies of the Koran. Has this church not heard of the concept of turning the other cheek? This is not to say that the terrorists should not be hammered and wiped out wherever they are found; that is exercising the right of self-defense.
But it seems to this writer that burning copies of the Koran is a childish gesture that will not accomplish anything but inflame opinion. The terrorists will certainly not be impressed. Their opinion that the rest of the world does not respect Islam and is at war with the same will be validated. And the majority of Muslims who are as appalled and affronted at the jihadists, if not more so, as anyone else will also be offended.
It would be as if some group decided to burn copies of the Bible to protest, say, the bombing of an abortion clinic or ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian Christians.
Perhaps a better way to commemorate 9/11 would be to publicly read those passages from the Koran that condemn suicide and the killing of innocents, even in the context of a jihad. It is true that the Koran, like a lot of other holy books, has contradictions. The Meccan passages contain a far more benign message than the Medina ones. But just like most Christians ignore those passages of the Bible that call for the killing of homosexuals, the subjugation of women, and justify slavery, modern Muslims can ignore those passages in the Koran that call for murder and subjugation of non-Muslims and pick and choose those truths that promote peace and understanding, unlike the terrorists who just look at the blood and bigotry.
That would be a far worthier thing to do than make a bonfire of books.
Source:Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran, Fran Ingram, Dove World Outreach Center, September 2nd, 2010