Saturday, June 04, 2005

Perspective on Desecration

The media feeding frenzy over Qur'an desecration continues. They're all a-twitter over the results of the military's investigation at Guantanamo. The more even-handed reports, one of which is here, make it obvious that there's not much to the story. However, that doesn't stop most of the major American media from relentlessly criticizing the U.S.

There have been a number of recent attacks by extremist Islamists on mosques or very near them in Iraq and elsewhere. Lots of people have been killed, and lots of destruction resulted. I wonder how many Qur'ans were blown up, burned, or otherwise destroyed in the process? I can't find any references to wild riots in the Muslim world over these destroyed Qur'ans or the people who were killed. I also can't find any commentary in the media on this irony.

I don't think there's any moral equivalence between the desecration of a very few holy books by Americans and the wholesale desecration of holy books (including the Qur'an and the Bible) by Muslims. The former is atypical and unacceptable behavior in the civilized world, and the latter is routine and widely approved in the Muslim world. I wonder why the media can't bring themselves to put it in perspective?


Blogger carla said...

Wow Tom..

I have to say your last three entrires here are dissapointing, to say the least. They're little more than the rightwing pap that's spewed other places.

9:22 AM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Sorry to disappoint, Carla. One of the disadvantages of being a relatively non-ideological moderate liberal is an inability to follow the party line.

9:39 AM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

Dear Tom,

As a knee-jerk, right-wing, reactionary; I'd like to say keep up the good work and I'll Fedex those Haliburten stock options to you right away.

In all seriousness, first we have Amnesty International calling America the "last Gulag" over Gitmo, Then we find out that occassional, unapproved Koran abuse is apparently the worst thing anybody can find down there. I actually wonder if we aren't being kind of soft on these apprehended terrorists, especially when the internees apparently abuse their holy books far more often than any temperamental guards do.

11:37 AM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

Tom - because they are bent on justifying their reputation. What kills me is that this is not exactly supporting their case. Ignoring the (very few) documented cases of abuse which caused real harm in favor of this is an amazing demonstration of how close-minded and narcissistic they really are. It's all about them, apparently, and they need to defend the Newsweak(sic) report.

Carla, come on, authenticity counts. Reality counts. As far as I have been able to judge from the latest spate of reporting, most US prisoners would be well advised to get a transfer to the "gulag" at Gitmo. The people there seem to be getting much better treatment than military prisoners at Leavenworth.

3:30 PM, June 04, 2005  
Anonymous BronxPundit said...

Good work here.

5:40 PM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger carla said...

One of the disadvantages of being a relatively non-ideological moderate liberal is an inability to follow the party line

When you find someone like should ask them to blog with you. It would balance out the rightwing shillness here nicely.

7:43 PM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

Great job, Tom. But as you know, it's perfectly fine with the Muslim world for Muslims to kill Muslims, desecrate their holy books or others' holy books.... Haven't you learned that yet? :)

10:23 PM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger profmarcus said...

just as a thought problem, every time you see "koran," replace it with "bible..." every time you see "muslim," replace it with "christian..."

11:50 PM, June 04, 2005  
Blogger Amal said...

You are right Tom, there is little to no rioting. Little to no protesting, as a matter of fact, I think that the more Muslims riot over the newsweek story, the more hypocritical they are. Seriously, I can tell you on a very personal level, I am sick and tired of hearing about how we object to this and object to that but we have yet to object to the wholesale slaughter of Shiite Muslims being done by Al Qaeda et al.

Good Good article.

1:13 AM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

non-ideological moderate liberal Is there such a thing? Tom, as alway your commentary is right on. Nothing we do is ever right. We are, after all, THE GREAT SATAN in that part of the world.

4:03 AM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

Profmarcus left the same thought problem he posted above on my site. So I'll answer it here, too. It is a good question which I think people do need to consider. (See? I do agree with profmarcus sometimes.):)

About three weeks ago, I imagined having to interrogate some nutburger like Eric Rudolph (Atlanta bomber, abortion clinic shooter). If I thought he had an accomplice and I thought I could save lives by desecrating a Bible, I'd do it in an instant. I wouldn't enjoy it, but I would do it.

In all fairness, however, there is a difference between Bible stomping and Koran kicking. Although Christians consider the Bible the word of God, they do not idolize copies of the Bible. Moslems, on the other hand, consider the Koran to be far more than the word of God. They claim, at least, that the Koran is an eternal document, uncreated, having existed before time began and revealed (rather than created for or by) Mohammed. They also believe the very words of the Koran are so sacred that interpretation and exigesis of any sort is blasphemous.

In short, they are a lot more touchy than Christians on scripture reverence, and they have a theological rationalization for that.

Some religious historians have said that this belief in the singular sacredness of Moslem scripture is nothing more than a ploy, introduced in the 13th century, to keep Moslem believers submissive to their ruler. I would agree with that assessment. Nevertheless, their doctrine in this matter is still a religious doctrine nominally deserving of respect.

Which leaves me wondering how those internee clowns in Gitmo think they can use Koran pages for toilet paper without honking off Allah.

8:42 AM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger Anastasia said...

I remember, a few years ago, one Parisien designer ran their collection (I think it was Galliano for Dior, I'm not really sure though, it took place more than five years ago) and some of the clothes featured words from the Koranic Surahs. The reaction? (Because haute couture in France is held together by Saudi currency) Outrage by some Islamic clerics to the tune of 'these words are sacred, how dare they parade them on scantily dressed women?'.

So it's also a case of what's in fashion, politics is like fashion and at the moment anything Islamic is 'hot'.

One thing I don't really understand however is the reported prohibition on New Testaments in Saudi Arabia. According to the Quran, Jesus (for example) is recognised as one of the prophets that preceded Mohammed. Also, all prior prophets are referred to as 'Muslims' because they are believers of Allah i.e. God. So personally, I can't understand why this gets so damn complicated in the wider world but it does and can due to whatever is fashionable, I've had Greek priests in tiny churches here tell me that Allah is a 'false God' when it's the same concept and it totally infuriates me because these people are supposedly 'educated' in theology. A common person, can see that IHVH = God = Allah.

12:01 PM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Actually, about the New Testament prohibition, I do understand it now..according to Islam, Jesus was given a separate gospel that differs from the New Testament that we all know.

Perhaps this is why.
The gospel that Jesus was given is titled Injeel (I think) and this is perhaps why the New Testament is not accepted within Saudi Arabia. Jesus however is acknowledged as a valid prophet, along with Abraham, Moses..

There has been much debate about the authenticity of the New Testament because the two oldest bibles in the world (that are in a museum) do differ. Along with the various interferences from Popes such as Gregory the Great (whereby he aligns Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and 'blesses' Magdalene with 'prostitute' status - which has been discussed by theologians (it just hasn't really been officially corrected, so millions of people still think Magdalene was a prostitute) what we now know as the New Testament, has experienced many revisions so I don't really blame some sectors for not 'accepting' it.

Really, I find it abhorrent that one sector of people deem themselves the Chosen Ones when the reality is at that timeline countless of other people lived around the world due to migration, so what made the 'Chosen' Ones so special? I'm not saying this to create controversy but when one looks at it, it's no different to propaganda. The same can be said about this 'Infidel' view that Muslims have - whereby everyone else is an Infidel because they aren't Muslim.

and beauty pageant contestants hope for world peace? lol

12:09 PM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

The Moslem view on the Bible, as I understand it, is thast Allah revealed his word to Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and so forth; and these Moslem profets duly wrote down what Allah revealed to them. However, their followers (those terrible Jews and Christians, in the Moslem view) rewrote those books and corrupted them. So Allah sent Mohammed as the final prophet with the definitive word found in the Koran.

That way, they can call Abraham and Jesus prophets but still hate Jews and Christians and ignore the Torah and Bible.

12:52 PM, June 05, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

read this

3:03 PM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Perhaps saying the following will be considered controversial, I don't know, but seriously after spending four years studying evolution in addition to dissecting many mammals, all of which share the same organs that humans do (that function in the same manner), evolution and reproduction are standard things. Humans need to reproduce to 'beget' other humans so there are moments I can't really half blame religious leaders of certain religions (such as Islam) for getting pissed off at the concept of Jesus being the 'only ' righteous prophet because he was 'sired' by a non human entity.
Every human implicitly knows this cannot be and yet someone will come on out of the woodwork to say 'but it was the holy spirit'. It's just like all this Roswell alien talk to me.
In all the scriptures everyone is taught never to idolise because idolatry is considered a sin and then we have millions of people who wear crucifixes like they are fashion accessories. In other words, if Jesus was executed via lethal injection (figuratively speaking) would everyone have then gone on to wear syringes around their neck? Then we have self righteous film directors who use a film to proclaim their religious righteousness (The Passion of the Christ) who then use this like it's a Disney merchandising enterprise that rivals Finding Nemo.

Personally I can totally understand why Jews would be riled at Christians and why Muslims are riled at Christians, what I can't understand is why Jews and Muslims don't get along because it's not like they are claiming their prophets are the sons of God.

Anyway, in regard to the above, if I've offended I do apologise in advance, but I just can't shake off evolution and I think many scientists or those who have studied science can't. It's always there at the back of the mind.

7:01 AM, June 07, 2005  

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