I’m glad the Koran burning was cancelled

Looks like Pastor Terry Jones finally came to his senses. The right to burn any book is and ought to be a protected right. Exercising that right, however, is tacky and juvenile because burning books is for psychotic totalitarian idiots, not civilised human beings. All I’m left with on this topic is:

  • Fifty slope-browed fundamentalists in Florida do not merit media attention.
  • If a book is potentially controversial or might promote dangerous ideologies, it is especially important that the book is kept so individuals can learn for themselves what parts of it are harmful. This will prevent repeating the mistakes of the past.
  • Even if you think the Koran is a deficient guide for society, destroying copies of it is not anything more than an ideological temper tantrum. Change your wet nappies and grow up.

4 thoughts on “I’m glad the Koran burning was cancelled

  1. You’d perhaps think I’d be in favor of Qur’an burnings, considering I’m a rabid right wing fundamentalist. However, to me, it’s much the same issue as building a mosque at ground zero: just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. There are issues of propriety, thoughtfulness, tolerance, respect, etc. involved. Plus, um, the last people to hold mass book burnings were the Nazis. So I think that fact pretty much says it all.

    Ultimately, burning a book, or not burning a book, won’t prove anything to anyone and it won’t change anyone’s minds. But really, at the end of the day, don’t we owe it to ourselves to be civilized human beings? If we’re at war–and from the perspective of Al-Qaeda, we certainly are–then why are we trying so very hard to give others so much power over us?

  2. In what way is a crazy bigot, who thinks all Muslims are satanic terrorists, burning copies of the Qur’an the same as a a group of very moderate Muslims wanting to build a community centre on land they bought which happens to be further away from the former site of the World Trade Centre than at least one current Mosque that’s been there for 40+ years?

    Also it looks like the Fahrenheit 451/1984-inspired book burning is back on

    • It’s back on? Oh, bollocks.

      As far as the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, the thing that has me scratching my head is Imam Rauf’s chain of utter PR failures. The way he talks it’s like he didn’t ever imagine that this would stir up trouble. If it were my mosque to build I would have taken the path of least resistance and thought, you know, perhaps I should find an alternate location (and in this bad economy, vacant buildings are not hard to find) because who wants to bother with the public relations nightmare? Perhaps that viewpoint is overly pragmatic and forcing the mosque into being will generate some real participation and engagement by US Muslims with the broader public. Imam Rauf’s insisting on his constitutionally protected right to build (despite the legitimate case for that being a tacky move) might yield good results, or the building might be co-opted by extremists on both sides who want to use it as a symbolic pawn.

      Most Americans don’t know about the headache London dealt with during the radical period of the Finsbury Park Mosque. Big Islamic centres in big cities attract people of all stripes, but the attitude of the imam does quite a bit to set the tone. That place was an absolute mess and produced some pretty despicable murderers, woman-haters, and people who used the right of free speech that Britain offered them to shout to Britons that Sharia was on its way. The mosque has since been re-named and the radicals booted out, but poison and mistrust remain. I’m sceptical that a mosque built so close to Ground Zero, even if it’s built with the purest of intentions, can avoid being co-opted by extremists. If the structure is built, I predict right-wingers (Islamists and Christianists) will be camped out on the sidewalk on a regular basis. That isn’t going to help people who just want to go to the gym or pray inside, like normal Americans visiting a religious cultural centre of their choice.

      The whole debate, in my mind, seems to have been set off by a lack of good PR planning. As CJ said, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. It’s possible to put a mosque a block away from Ground Zero, but it shouldn’t be done without a careful plan to assure the public. Imam Rauf did nothing in advance; all of his PR outreach has been done as an afterthought in a defensive position after plans were submitted. The public felt blindsided, hence the uproar. I think he is not the best person to lead an interfaith dialog for this reason. The way he’s come across recently, especially his TV interview with Soledad O’Brian, has made me think that he does not understand the way he sounds to people who do not understand or trust Muslims. Even if his motives are pure, both he and his wife either need to hire PR advisers or allow someone else to do most of the talking.

  3. Craig, I’m not equating the two groups of people, but, rather, noting that, regardless of the people involved, there’s a common principle: freedom to do something doesn’t, you know, automatically sanction it as in good taste. There’s something to be said for considering others’ feelings. What Molly said.

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