Monday, March 26, 2012

Koran burning vs. massacre

Well, I gave it two sets of Friday prayers but there still have been no protests for the massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan approximating anything of those protests over the accidental burning of some Korans. After only a couple of weeks after the Koran burning incident, the nationwide rioting left at least 29 Afghans and 6 American soldiers dead.

But when an American soldier deliberately targets civilians, including children, it seems to be greeted with a collective yawn. What's up with that? 
Finally I read this article which seems to explain the problem:
When mullah Abdul Rahim Shah Ghaa thinks back to the day in February when a couple of Afghan employees at a U.S.-run detention center outside of Kabul yanked five partially burned Korans out of a trash incinerator, he shudders with anger and revulsion. “It is like a knife to my heart,” says the head of the provincial religious council. The March 11 slaying of 16 Afghan civilians by a lone U.S Army staff sergeant named Robert Bales in Kandahar province, however, has left less of a scar. “Of course we condemn that act,” he says. “But it was only 16 people. Even if it were 1,000 people, it wouldn’t compare to harming one word of the Koran. If someone insults our holy book, it means that they insult our faith, our religion and everything that we have.”
By contrast, attacks on the Koran, whether accidental, as happened in February, or deliberate, as when a Florida pastor burned a Koran a year ago, are relatively rare. (As the result of the 2011 incident, protesters in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif stormed a U.N. office, killing seven foreigners in addition to four protesters.) And Afghans want to keep it that way. “It’s our red line,” says university student Basir Abdul. “If we don’t protest the burning of the Koran today, tomorrow the foreigners will enter our houses and rape our women.” Besides, he says, he doesn’t know anyone in Panjwai, “so the killings don’t affect me. But the Koran belongs to everyone.” In a country riven by tribal loyalties, Islam transcends ethnic identity. It’s the one thing all Afghans can agree upon.

The history of Islam is one of defending the faith, says Shah Ghaa. The Koran is not merely a book or just the word of God but a symbol of sacrifice akin to the Christian crucifix. Afghans see themselves as an integral part of Islam’s historic struggle against tyranny. “Since the time of the Prophet, there has been war to keep our religion alive,” says Shah Ghaa. An estimated 2 million Afghans died during the anti-Soviet jihad, he says. “Why? Because we had to defend our religion. Insulting the Koran is like insulting everyone who died in that struggle.”

Maybe this explains why there is such a cultural divide between our two countries. Americans will complain about an artist painting holy Christian images with elephant dung without deadly protests but you better not kill our children. On the other hand, Muslims will kill for any depiction of the prophet or insult to their Koran but deaths of children can be bought off with blood money.

Notice that the Obama administration recently paid the blood money:

My only remaining question is: Why was one of the protesters holding a Koran in his left hand? I thought that was strictly taboo.

Read more in this article:

No comments:

Post a Comment