Friday, May 13, 2005

Sacred Rage: Muslims Furious Over Probable Desecration of the Qur'an

It was recently reported in Newsweek, and further reprinted in publications and news outlets all over the world, that members of the U.S. military and/or intelligence services defiled the Qur'an, which Muslims believe contains the Revelations of God. According to sources, pages were torn out and flushed down a toilet in an attempt to humiliate security prisoners currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Here is a case in point of how inept and ignorant large segments of the U.S. governmental establishment is when it comes to dealing with the Muslim World. The Qur'an is sacred to all Muslims, not just members of al-Qaeda; by defiling the Qur'an, the U.S. military/intelligence services have set back any attempt to convince the world's Muslims that our government respects Islam. It is perhaps extremely difficult for those raised in the secular West to really understand how awful this act, if it happened, is. For a religious Christian, it is akin to tearing out pages of the Gospels and spitting on them. To Muslims, the Qur'an is the Word of God; to defile them is to defile God.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, thousands of Muslims have protested violently over the last two days over this alleged act. Several people have been killed in clashes with Afghan security forces. If this act is verified, the backlash could get a lot worse. And frankly, the U.S. military would have brought it on itself. If true, the guilty parties have succeeded in proving Osama bin Laden's argument: that the American government is hostile to Islam and to Muslims. First Abu Ghraib and ow this. Good job, U.S. military intelligence. You have once again failed to grasp what your ignorance really has the power to do.

Recently, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice condemned the alleged defiling of the Qur'an:
http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2005&m=May&x=20050512160316cpataruk0.2498896&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html

To see a story on the resulting riots and protests, see:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5001820,00.html