The Question We’re All Asking

Irshad Manji asks why the Qu’ran is worth 15 lives.

It’s one thing to dishonor a rich tradition and insult a religion. Flushing the Qu’ran down the toilet would definitely be a deeply disrespectful act. At the same time, if someone did the same to the Bible in this country, they’d get an NEA grant and an exclusive contract with some tony Bay Area gallery. There certainly wouldn’t be a bunch of Southern Baptists going on a killing spree in downtown Atlanta.

Newsweek‘s actions are indefensible and wrong, but the fact that the Muslim world acted in such a violent and harmful way only illustrates how much work needs to be done to reconcile the rich traditions of Islam with modernity and tolerance.

Of course, Omar of Iraq the Model notes that the Iraqi people are more sanguine about the whole affair — which only goes to show how the Iraqi people are embracing the values of an open and free society more so than some others.

10 thoughts on “The Question We’re All Asking

  1. If America were being occupied by a Muslim nation trying to instill its form of government on us, and they flushed the Bible down the toilet, I expect there would be killing in the streets of Atlanta.

  2. If grandma had balls, she’d be grandpa. Damn, Mark, your hypothetical is either meaningless or a defense of murdering people because you are upset some paper was destroyed. Which is it?

    Or are you just a self-loathing anti-American piece of (edited out to maintain Jay’s high standards)?

  3. winston, I’m not defending anything. But if the will of a foreign government and its vastly distinct culture was being thrust upon America in the name of “rescuing us from ourselves,” I don’t think flag-waving Americans would simply roll over like we expect occupied Iraq and Afghanis to do. I’ll be the first to hold Newsweek to task for their sloppy reporting, but for Jay to suggest that only brown-skinned people would react violently to an occupying power flushing their culture’s book of worship down a toilet is woefully naive…particularly in our increasingly “faith-based” culture. The removal of a Ten Commandments statue from an Alabama courthouse is enough to bring legions of religious zealots from across the country to rabid, red-faced protest. At the faintest whisper of a foreign occupying Army burning the Bible, it’s hard to imagine the same folks not responding in the same riotous ways their theocratic brethren in the Middle East have.

  4. Actually Mark, you’re the one who’s making an insinuation about “brown-skinned people.”

    Not all Muslims are brown, just like not all Muslims are the sort of Islamofascists who would murder people over an unconfirmed paragraph in Newsweek. Or do you just prefer reading in too much subtext?

    And the post by Omar at Iraq the Model is quite illuminating. Make sure you check that one out before turning to the diatribe about “brown-skins.” Methinks that Jay probably wouldn’t have bothered linking to an actual, y’know, Iraqi blogger if he were indeed so woefully naive.

  5. I think the whole story is bunk, assuming it is an not an inordinately small book. I just got done doing a test and the Bible just gets soggy and sits in the bottom of the bowl. You can’t flush a book down the toilet.

  6. Mark, you are drawing a comparison between two wholly-different things. If the United States was a theocratic dicatorship that was freed by the work of soldiers from a pluralistic and free Afghanistan and the Afghan soldiers flushed some bibles down the toilet in an attempt to get some Baptist terrorists to talk, well maybe there would be some Baptists protesting in the streets of Atlanta. But that’s not what you meant. You meant to equate the goals, inclinations, religions, politics, dispositions etc. of Americans and Islamofascists.

    At best, that’s stupid. At worst, you are anti-American.

  7. You underestimate the religious crazies here in America. Here’s what I don’t understand. Did the Muslims all riot in the streets and kill a bunch of Americans when they found out we were torturing them to death? Well, probably. But it doesn’t seem like they were as upset about the torture as they are about flushing their book down the toilet.

  8. winston, I suppose if opposition to current foreign policy actions constitutes “anti-Americanism,” then I would fit that category, much as I suspect you would qualify as an “America-hater” from 1993-2000. Either way, the whole discussion is irrelevant in the debate of whether American Christian fundamentalists would respond differently than Middle Eastern Islamic fundamentalists if an occupying Army (no matter what their intentions were perceived to be) was reported to be desecrating their book of worship.

  9. I would riot if there was a foreign occupying Army, too. And I’m not a fundamentalist – probably partially evidence by my support of Clinton’s foreign policy in Bosnia, his periodic bombings of Iraq and some of his other efforts, much to your foolish surprise.

    But I wouldn’t riot and kill if we were ruled by funamentalist fascists and were freed by Afghanistan. Your simplistic comparisons are irrelevant, but they make you feel better because you like to insult Christians, eh?

    And just remember, when this nation’s fundamentalist forebears were under oppression, they didn’t shoot up the town square – but mostly got on boats and came here.

    And no, it is not your opposition to current U.S. foreign policy that makes you anti-American, it is your desire to equate us with our enemies. So strike your stupid strawman.

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