April 8, 2011
Immolation of the QuranBy Timothy Birdnow
The reverend Terry Jones burned some paper in Florida, and people were murdered on the other side of the world. Criticism abounds for the pastor of a small church, who decided he'd had enough of being bullied by a religion that demands obedience not only of its own adherents but of those opposed to it, that demands blood for every occasion, a rage looking for an offense. Was Rev. Jones needlessly provocative? Perhaps. Was what he did foolish? Maybe. Disrespectful? Sure, but then respect should flow two ways, and it clearly does not. How many Bibles have been burned in Islamic countries? The U.S. military actually burned some themselves to make Muslims happy.
In point of fact, Muslims burned churches as well as Bibles in Pakistan, then burned the homes of Christians, and there were no riots or acts of vengeance against Muslims worldwide. Incidents against Muslims have remained quite low in the United States and worldwide since the start of the war. And the matter of proportionality must be raised; cartoons disrespecting Muhammad elicit decapitations and murders from Muslims.
Does anyone remember the desecration of the Church of the Nativity, one of Christendom's holiest sites? During a battle between Israeli IDF and Palestinian guerrillas the beaten Palestinians invaded the church, using it as a sanctuary against the pursuing Israeli military. After a long standoff, the largely Islamic army was removed, leaving behind filth and squalor. Had that been an historic mosque, there would have been rioting worldwide. Oh, and the Palestinians not only defecated in the church, but used Bibles as toilet paper.
Does anyone remember the Taliban vandalizing the sleeping Buddha in Afghanistan? They had been destroying Buddhist shrines throughout that country prior to the U.S. invasion.
So, what is it that Terry Jones did to so enrage the Muslims? He burned a few pieces of paper.
Now, bear in mind, he did not burn the Quran itself; there is no such physical object. He burned a printed copy of the Quran, one likely printed right here in the U.S. The paper was manufactured from trees or other pulp, pressed in a press, the ink made from various chemicals in factories, then a printer ran this paper over typeset to produce a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, etc.
In point of fact, these succession of copies go back to Muhammad's son-in-law Uthman, who had the first definitive printed copy of the Quran produced. It was definitive because oral traditions varied, and Uthman ordered the destruction of any alternate versions by fire.
Sahih Bukhari tells us:
So, the first Quran burner was Uthman, who sought to rid the world of "heretical" alternate texts. Interesting; someone should tell the editors at Time Magazine about that; Chuck Todd argued while guest-hosting MSNBC's Hardball that the Quran is the exact word of Allah, while the Bible was simply written by men.
Here is an explanation of the motivations for writing the Quran down. It was as much political as spiritual.
It is acceptable to destroy a Quran by burning if alternate methods are not available. It is recommended that a damaged or unusable Quran be buried or sunk in water first, but burning is an acceptable substitute. Would Rev. Jones have been on safe ground had he tossed his copy in the Okefenokee swamp or buried it in a shallow grave?
The reality is that this is a tactic being employed by the Muslims in their Jihad. The point is to make us change our behavior to accommodate their rules, aka Sharia. (It is not necessary for one to be Muslim to be under Sharia; imposition of Sharia on non-believers is a duty of all good Muslims.) The purpose is to wear down any resistance to their demands. Keep infidels walking on eggshells, fearful of the maniacal response to any provocation, and eventually the infidels will change their laws to be Sharia-compliant. The actual act is not the issue here so much as the perception. Islam cannot allow infidels to get too uppity. The Muslim has the right to rule, they believe.
Chuck Todd unknowingly exposes the problem, and why it will be extremely difficult to reform Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran is dictated word for word by Allah to Muhammad, and so each and every statement must be literally interpreted. Couple that with the fact that Muhammad is "the seal of the Prophets" meaning the last prophet -- thus ending divine commandments and statutes. Nothing can change in Islam, because the word of Allah is complete and total, ending with Muhammad. Thus Islam remains stuck in the 7th century, with the cruelties, the intolerance, the militarism, the faults and foibles of 7th century warriors enshrined forever in the Islamic psyche. One cannot find anything new in Islam, because it was all written down in the very beginning. It is a law without means of amendment.
And since Islam has no formal hierarchy to deal with questions, one's interpretation is as good as another's. It's often asked "where are the moderate Muslims, why aren't they condemning the bad ones?" But this misses the point; they cannot condemn brother Muslims, because they have no outside authority to judge matters. The best that can be done is an appeal to parts of the Quran -- and most of the kinder, gentler verses have been abrogated by the more warlike later parts. Abrogation says that whatever was said last abrogates what was said before. Moderate Muslims are on shaky ground if they dispute the radicals with the Quran.
As a result, any group can initiate Jihad, and anyone who manages to gain the reverence of the masses can issue a Fatwa. And, of course, lying is permissible in the interests of advancing Sharia, so those who are ignorant can be whipped into a frenzy by half truths or out-and-out lies. What right do moderates have to say otherwise?
Ultimately the issue goes back to the oldest of principles; are we going to let ourselves be bullied into submission? For 600 years Islam acted as the aggressor, and Christendom retreated in the wake of the onslaught. It was only after the Turks massacred 3000 pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem that Christendom finally resisted -- and the Crusades began a process which eventually stopped the military expansion of Islam cold. Contrary to media spin, the Crusades were not a war of Christian aggression against Islam.
Liberals believe that Islam, being the enemy of Christianity and Western Civilization, is an ally that will be satisfied once the "injustice" of Western dominance is ended, but they are horrendously ignorant of the dragon they are unchaining. They will be devoured along with the rest of our civilization if we continue down the path of Sharia. Pastor Terry may well have done us a favor by illustrating the rigidity and barbarity of some in the Islamic world, and how the better-natured Muslims are powerless to stop them.
As with any bully, accommodation invites attack. This was proven when Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement emboldened Hitler, it has been proven on every schoolyard throughout history, and it is being proven today. Bullies must be resisted, not coddled. Too bad Lindsey Graham and much of the mainstream media don't understand that.
In the end we will be what is immolated if we do not wake up.
Timothy Birdnow is a St. Louis based writer. He blogs at www.tbirdnow.mee.nu.