On the Koran burning riots

More details on the Koran burnings in Afghanistan from Andrew C. McCarthy, in the context of President Obama’s apology:

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.

Of course, these facts may not become widely known, because no one is supposed to mention the main significance of what has happened here. First, as usual, Muslims — not al-Qaeda terrorists, but ordinary, mainstream Muslims — are rioting and murdering over the burning (indeed, the inadvertent burning) of a book. Yes, it’s the Koran, but it’s a book all the same — and one that, moderate Muslims never tire of telling us, doesn’t really mean everything it says anyhow.

Muslim leaders and their leftist apologists are also forever lecturing the United States about “proportionality” in our war-fighting. Yet when it comes to Muslim proportionality, Americans are supposed to shrug meekly and accept the “you burn books, we kill people” law of the jungle. Disgustingly, the Times would inure us to this moral equivalence by rationalizing that “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.” Well then, I guess that makes it all right, huh?

Then there’s the second not-to-be-uttered truth: Defiling the Koran becomes an issue for Muslims only when it has been done by non-Muslims. Observe that the unintentional burning would not have occurred if these “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Afghans had not defiled the Korans in the first place. They were Muslim prisoners who annotated the “holy” pages with what a U.S. military official described as “extremist inscriptions” in covert messages sent back and forth, just as the jihadists held at Gitmo have been known to do (notwithstanding that Muslim prisoners get their Korans courtesy of the American taxpayers they construe the book to justify killing).

via Why Apologize to Afghanistan? – Andrew C. McCarthy – National Review Online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.”

    This begs the reply that Christians (the real ones, mind you) leave the protection of their faith up to God.

  • Pete

    “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.”

    This begs the reply that Christians (the real ones, mind you) leave the protection of their faith up to God.

  • Michael B.

    The Koran is one of the most vile books to ever be produced by mankind. In the Koran, all nonbelievers, including Christians, are sent to a hell where they are forced to eat poisonous food and drink boiling water, where they are kept alive in agony forever. If anything, our government officials should be condemning the book as much as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Mein Kamph.

    However, I can understand the argument that we shouldn’t disrespect someone’s religion while we are invading their country. Also, I have to ask: hasn’t the conversation the last 2 weeks on here been about how we can’t pass any contraception mandates because we aren’t respecting people’s religion?

  • Michael B.

    The Koran is one of the most vile books to ever be produced by mankind. In the Koran, all nonbelievers, including Christians, are sent to a hell where they are forced to eat poisonous food and drink boiling water, where they are kept alive in agony forever. If anything, our government officials should be condemning the book as much as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Mein Kamph.

    However, I can understand the argument that we shouldn’t disrespect someone’s religion while we are invading their country. Also, I have to ask: hasn’t the conversation the last 2 weeks on here been about how we can’t pass any contraception mandates because we aren’t respecting people’s religion?

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    If we are going to call something a religion and then say it’s off limits for criticism, even if part of its creed is to coerce others, then why not treat Nazism and communism as religions? They have a metaphysic, ritual, holy texts, etc. Islam, in no way confines itself to a limited area of life (for that matter few religions do).
    This whole multi-cultural sophistry is the unworkable notion that ideas cannot be evaluated in light of other ideas. Provided that the man-with-a-microphone decides that any set of ideas constitute a protected culture and hence are sealed off from objective analysis.
    Sometimes I’m sure that the United Sates has ‘jumped the shark’. Alas.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    If we are going to call something a religion and then say it’s off limits for criticism, even if part of its creed is to coerce others, then why not treat Nazism and communism as religions? They have a metaphysic, ritual, holy texts, etc. Islam, in no way confines itself to a limited area of life (for that matter few religions do).
    This whole multi-cultural sophistry is the unworkable notion that ideas cannot be evaluated in light of other ideas. Provided that the man-with-a-microphone decides that any set of ideas constitute a protected culture and hence are sealed off from objective analysis.
    Sometimes I’m sure that the United Sates has ‘jumped the shark’. Alas.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pastor Spomer – the rants of mr Mc Carthy cannot be supported by Christians. We can dissent from somebody’s beliefs, without engaging in actions which experience has shown will yield no good fruit.

    The apology from pres Obama is by nature of his office a political act. Because it is representatives of his government that did the action that offended them (the Afghans). Thus it is a politcal situation, with politcal repurcussions, and an apology is the correct politcal response. Pres Bush would have done no less, btw.

    Mr McCarthy is stoking dangerous fires on volatile religious grounds, for petty party politcal gain. He is a contemptible idiot.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pastor Spomer – the rants of mr Mc Carthy cannot be supported by Christians. We can dissent from somebody’s beliefs, without engaging in actions which experience has shown will yield no good fruit.

    The apology from pres Obama is by nature of his office a political act. Because it is representatives of his government that did the action that offended them (the Afghans). Thus it is a politcal situation, with politcal repurcussions, and an apology is the correct politcal response. Pres Bush would have done no less, btw.

    Mr McCarthy is stoking dangerous fires on volatile religious grounds, for petty party politcal gain. He is a contemptible idiot.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m a little confused as to what was written on the Korans. Were they “incendiary messages”, or were they “covert messages”? Or were they covert, incendiary messages?

    I ask because I can’t quite figure out why the military cared about what was written on the Korans in the first place. Would anyone really be surprised to discover that prisoners in our Afghan military prison have and express radical, anti-American thoughts? If that’s all it was, that really doesn’t merit a military response in my opinion.

    I mean, sure, if the allegedly “covert” messages on the Korans involved actual threats or planning to carry out attacks, then sure, it all makes sense. But McCarthy isn’t exactly establishing that.

    Seems to me like the military overreacted, then. But, again, I don’t have any more information than McCarthy apparently does here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m a little confused as to what was written on the Korans. Were they “incendiary messages”, or were they “covert messages”? Or were they covert, incendiary messages?

    I ask because I can’t quite figure out why the military cared about what was written on the Korans in the first place. Would anyone really be surprised to discover that prisoners in our Afghan military prison have and express radical, anti-American thoughts? If that’s all it was, that really doesn’t merit a military response in my opinion.

    I mean, sure, if the allegedly “covert” messages on the Korans involved actual threats or planning to carry out attacks, then sure, it all makes sense. But McCarthy isn’t exactly establishing that.

    Seems to me like the military overreacted, then. But, again, I don’t have any more information than McCarthy apparently does here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B (@2) wrote:

    If anything, our government officials should be condemning the book as much as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Mein Kamph.

    Do our government officials condemn the latter two works? On behalf of our government? I really wish they wouldn’t. I don’t want my government issuing position papers on any book. And I really don’t care what government officials happen to think on a personal level, unless I know them.

    hasn’t the conversation the last 2 weeks on here been about how we can’t pass any contraception mandates because we aren’t respecting people’s religion?

    Are you really missing the point about the First Amendment here? Because it matters quite a lot in the case of the contraception ruling, but notably doesn’t apply in the case of Afghani military prisoners. Come on.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B (@2) wrote:

    If anything, our government officials should be condemning the book as much as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Mein Kamph.

    Do our government officials condemn the latter two works? On behalf of our government? I really wish they wouldn’t. I don’t want my government issuing position papers on any book. And I really don’t care what government officials happen to think on a personal level, unless I know them.

    hasn’t the conversation the last 2 weeks on here been about how we can’t pass any contraception mandates because we aren’t respecting people’s religion?

    Are you really missing the point about the First Amendment here? Because it matters quite a lot in the case of the contraception ruling, but notably doesn’t apply in the case of Afghani military prisoners. Come on.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – agreed. Because once governments start issuing position papers on books, Kristalnacht becomes a possibility. If there is a problem (hate speech, defamation…), it should go to a court, not to government.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – agreed. Because once governments start issuing position papers on books, Kristalnacht becomes a possibility. If there is a problem (hate speech, defamation…), it should go to a court, not to government.

  • Roger Kovaciny

    I was in prison ministry when a young convict requested a Koran. I wouldn’t give it to him, and if any of you are in a similar position, you shouldn’t either. The Koran bears eerie similarity to a military training manual with its daily practice of discipline, sanitary rules, dietary rules, prohibition of alcohol and regulation of every part of life.

  • Roger Kovaciny

    I was in prison ministry when a young convict requested a Koran. I wouldn’t give it to him, and if any of you are in a similar position, you shouldn’t either. The Koran bears eerie similarity to a military training manual with its daily practice of discipline, sanitary rules, dietary rules, prohibition of alcohol and regulation of every part of life.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Roger – the last two lines of your post could just as well apply to the rule book of any of the fundy “christian” churches or “academic” institutions in the US – any IFB church, Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, Hyles-Anderson and many, many more.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Roger – the last two lines of your post could just as well apply to the rule book of any of the fundy “christian” churches or “academic” institutions in the US – any IFB church, Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, Hyles-Anderson and many, many more.


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