As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, many Muslims and non-Muslims alike are concerned about the plans of a Florida church to burn copies of the Qur’an on the 9 year anniversary of 9/11. Ramadan is more than just a month of fasting; it is a month that celebrates the Qur’an and for it to close with such an affront to the faith is troubling.
Despite numerous calls by officials and condemnations of the Qur’an burning rally, Dove World Outreach Center‘s pastor Terry Jones has said that the church will carry out the public burning. General David Petraeus has said that the Qur’an burning could endanger American troops; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the burning is a “disrespectful and disgraceful act“; and even the Vatican has said that this is an “outrageous and grave gesture.”
Terry Jones argues that the Qur’an burning is meant to send a message to radical Muslims, but in reality it will hurt the worldwide Muslim community who believe that the Qur’an is sacrosanct and should not be defiled in any way. Beyond the extreme disrespect towards a sacred text, this burning indicates an increase in obvious displays of intolerance. This is exactly what we do not need now in America or in the world.
It is worth noting that despite this apparent rise in intolerant rhetoric, at the same time many groups are speaking out against anti-Muslim sentiment. Religious leaders from different faiths have come out in support of the Muslim community, even in Madison. Moreover, on 9/11 several churches and Jewish temples are protesting the Qur’an burning event by reading passages from the Torah, Bible, and Qur’an. So the positive side is that there are still many people who are calling for tolerance and are countering the intolerance. Hopefully, they will win out.
What do you think of the Qur’an burning? Should a text be respected even if it is not sacred to you? Is it a sign of anti-Muslim sentiment? How do you think people should respond? Please share your comments below.