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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mishandling the Koran

There are so many reports in the media that "abuse" of the Koran by American guards at Guantanamo have generated "protests worldwide".

This is something I don't understand. How can people get worked up over the fate of a book? It's not as though there weren't plenty of copies left in good shape. If someone told me that my favourite book was a load of shit, I don't think I would be very much bothered, just disappointed that whoever it was was unable to appreciate it. If he appeared sincere, I would try to find out what bothered him about it; if not, it wouldn't be worth discussing.

Do any readers of this blog have any explanations they can offer me? Would they get agitated if for example the Bible was "abused", and if so, why?

If someone becomes uncomfortable when their holy book is disparaged, I interpret that as showing their lack of confidence in the religion that book is supposed to support. If one has to have the support of a book in order to maintain faith, that faith must be very weak - second-hand faith, in fact: not the kind that is going to move mountains, obviously.


  1. As a Muslim, I can honestly say that it does bother me to see the Quran mishandled in such a way. I don't think it has anything to do with lack of faith. I think it's just one more way the American Guards are saying to these people "You don't matter..." Just as tying the right hand behind the back and making them eat and clean themselves with the same hand is saying "we don't respect your culture.. it doesn't matter. We are in power here."

    When you grow up in a culture all of your life that tells you this book is the thing you will have to guide you. this book is Life, then it makes a difference.

    Imagine, if you were a Christian and someone ripped pages out of the bible and wiped their ass with it. Or if you were jew and someone put your copy of the Torah in a pig's sty. It would be ultimately a sign of utter disrespect.

    I don't think you can be of a faith and have your faith's implement's trampled by someone out of pure spite and say "well, it doesn't matter" It does Matter.. and at the very least, you should pray for this person who is disparaging your faith.

    Thank you for your healing hopes.


  2. Idunna, It's hard for me to understand this because long ago I gave up trying to see sense in any of the world's major religions (except perhaps Buddhism). I was brought up as a Christian, but I no longer attach much importance to the Bible or any other holy book as a guide to life - in fact, I see the influence of holy books as more negative than positive. My son became a Muslim a few years ago; I was sad that he had hitched his wagon to what I saw as a backward culture. He sent me a copy of the Quran. I read as much as I felt able, before being too put off by it to read any more. I was at a loss to understand how this book could inspire anyone for good. It did help me to understand, however, why many Muslims are vengeful.

    As to the behaviour of the American guards you mention, that is disgusting, if that is what they do. We don't need Qurans, Bibles or any other books to tell us that is not right. I suppose it is possible to understand that men and women put in charge of such a place and taught that their charges are enemies to be despised should behave badly. It's a symptom of the loveless world many people live in. No-one there teaches love.

  3. I personally have always see the Quran and it's suppliments as teaching a peaceful middle way and being very empowering especially for women being the first religion to show them as equal but different and capable of owning businesses and being land owners.

    "If one has to have the support of a book in order to maintain faith, that faith must be very weak - second-hand faith, in fact: not the kind that is going to move mountains, obviously."

    If one does not have a teacher, then one learns by reading, yes? And if one learns from the book, and puts faith in the words of the book.. if the book is all they have in their tiny prison cell where they are held without charges for some 3 years now, then to take away that book and the freedom it represents is especially cruel. More cruel maybe, than a swift death is the suffering of a man alone in the dark when his one candle's flame has been taken away.

    This mistreatment and disregard for any minority's personal rights is what causes vengance.. not words found in any book but oppression, disrespect, and dishonor day after day. The Quran that you say is so vengeful even speaks against not owning pets because this is Opressing to the animals.. No Opression.. It speaks of going to your enemy and trying to make them your friend and if this can't happen then War, but war that does not hurt women children or the elderly.. and then aiding your enemy after the war in rebuilding their lands.

    Maybe you didn't read far enough. Or possibly in all your openess and healing talk of love and oneness, your mind is already closed to the possibilty that the same love exists in these people for all people.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I apologise to those who commented in the Haloscan box. I have removed that box, as it was confusing to have two boxes, and the comments went with it.

    Anonymous, I feel sad that people are so dependent on a book. I don't condone the disrespect shown by the Guantanamo guards, that is just ignorant barbarism and calculated to hurt.

    I admit I have not read much of the Quran, I found it repellent. I have read in that book about how God is going to punish people who don't do certain things, or who commit certain acts. This punishment is to last forever. Sura 2, The Cow, is liberally sprinkled with threats of harsh punishment and eternal fire. This from a God who is described in the same chapter as All-Merciful.

    To me, this does not make sense. If we are God's creations, we are the way He made us. How can God justly punish us for being the way he made us? God does not need anything, nor does He judge anyone. He would be judging himself! And in fact later in the book, it is said that everything, good or bad, is by the decree of Allah. All that does not add up to something coherent that I can take guidance from, to me it is confusing and contradictory.

    Those Muslims who are blowing themselves and fellow-Muslims up with explosives - are they taking their inspiration from the Quran? How about the oppression of women and restrictions on their education and activities in Muslim countries? It seems to me that it is when we get right away from organized religion that women's rights are better acknowledged.

  6. And further, I forgot to point out that it's not any protests at the abuse of the prisoners that I find puzzling, it's the protests at the abuse of the book. The book has been made into a cult object of intrinsic value, whereas it can only be following the teachings that has any value (if the teachings are sound, which is another matter).

  7. Agree completely.

    Holy books, objects and shrines can become symbols used by adherents of a religion to demonstrate their monopoly of the truth. It also seems to indicate that the adherents haven't caught on to the idea of what faith is about.

    However, Quran or Bible destruction or any kind of book burning seems equally as or more neurotic. Because of its symbolic nature it gives dogma lovers a great chance to make the most of their role as victims and thus add to the spiral of ill-feeling and violence.


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