Planned U.S. burning of Quran al Kareem: When ‘Freedom of Expression’ becomes ‘Freedom to Persecute and Abuse’
Anti Muslim hatred in the USA has reached a new low with a planned ritual burning of the Quran al Kareem. The deplorable act is scheduled to mark the 9th anniversary of 9/11 by an extremist group of American Christian-Zionists called the ‘Dove World Outreach Centre’.
America was supposedly founded upon the values of religious tolerance when the Pilgrim Fathers escaped to the new land freeing themselves from persecution in their native Europe. Yet now the minority Muslim community faces untold bigotry and abuse because of politically motivated anti-Islam propaganda.
American claims of being anti-imperialist, or upholding ‘human rights’ were consigned to history by its near ten-year War on Islam – the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, extra-judicial assassinations in Pakistan and Yemen. Likewise its boasts of being a plural society, a cultural melting pot, are exposed as worthless with the planned desecration of Quran.
In fact, this would not be the first time Americans have desecrated the Quran al Kareem. US troops in Iraq and in Guantanamo did the same. Realising the consequences of anti-American hatred in the Muslim world – especially in Iraq and Afghanistan where it could cost the lives of US troops – a series of voices, starting with General David Petraeus and ending with Barack Obama, have mobilised to call for a halt to the planned publicity stunt.
Obama even claimed it’s not American to commit such an act. However, its America’s values of free expression that mean there is in fact no law that can stop the planned desecration of a religious book that is central to the lives of over a billion Muslims worldwide, including millions within America.
What politicians like Obama and Clinton cannot explain is that their beloved freedoms, which permit this act, are a recipe for a bitter and divided society. How do they expect people of different faiths to harmonise if they have the freedom to abuse each other?
Indeed, Western politicians are the ones who have created this climate of hatred to justify their colonial foreign policies, and to deflect attention away from their own destructive and murderous actions that are the cause for instability and terror around the world. They now fear the consequences of these actions for their own troops, and face ever more divisions within their societies, which are already dangerously divided by race, age, gender and wealth.
It is for this reason that secular liberal nation states are so prone to violent xenophobia and unable to tolerate the presence of diversity in their states. It is for this reason that until relatively recently extremist American Christians donned white hoods and burned wooden crosses persecuting their black minority. These are but some of the bitter fruits of the values of unrestricted freedom.
By contrast, Islam sets down clear standards of right and wrong.
Allah instructs Muslims not to abuse other religions – even though we believe they are false and irrational. Allah (swt) says:
“Do not curse those they call upon besides Allah, in case that makes them curse Allah in animosity, without knowledge. In this way We make the actions of every nation seem attractive to them. Then they will return to their Lord, and He will inform them about what they did.” Surah An’am 6:108
An Islamic society built on these values limits the freedom to abuse others, but leads to greater harmony between citizens. Indeed, non-Muslim voices are a testimony to this fact.
Sir Thomas Arnold in his book ‘The Call to Islam’ states:
“We have never heard about any attempt to compel Non-Muslim parties to adopt Islam or about any organised persecution aiming at exterminating Christianity.
Zion Zohar, a modern Jewish scholar, has written:
“Thus, when Muslims crossed the straits of Gibraltar from North Africa in 711 and invaded the Iberian Peninsula, Jews welcomed them as liberators from Christian Persecution.” [Zion Zohar, Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry, New York, 2005, p. 8-9.]
Also, a letter from one Rabbi to his persecuted brethren in Europe even urged settlement in the Islamic lands:
“Here in the land of the Turks we have nothing to complain of. We possess great fortunes; much gold and silver are in our hands. We are not oppressed with heavy taxes and our commerce is free and unhindered. Rich are the fruits of the earth. Everything is cheap and every one of us lives in peace and freedom …” [Philip Mansel. 1995. Constantinople: City of the World’s desire, 1453-1924. Penguin Books, p. 15 ]
We wait to see whether or not this contemptible act will go ahead. But it if does, it will be nothing more than an explicit example of how the excesses and lack of restriction in free societies sows the seeds of discord and disaster within those societies, and in the world generally.
As for Allah Almighty, He is far above what they propose to do:
“Let not their speech grieve you: for all power and honour belong to Allah. It is He Who hears and knows (all things)” Surah Tawbah 10:65