As an editorial note to an article, On the Burning of the Quran, I wrote:
We are against burning books, given that humanity has regretted many such previous incidents. But after studying Islam’s 1400-year history, knowing the Quran’s content in its best of details, and the sufferance humanity continues to suffer because of this book—we believe this is one book-burning incident that humanity would not regret, but may deem it a blessing down the years.
Let us emphasize that life is what value and treasure most. And the number of human beings fall victim to death and other sufferings and inequities in a day due to the Quran and its Islam is a reason good enough to justify the burning of entire collection of this most horrendous book existing in the world today.
I hold most of what I have said before in the above passage, despite that the burning event has been called off permanently. Yet, let me explain that this intended Quran-burning event was not the same as the previous book-burning incidents, which humanity has regretted. Instead, they are opposite in intentions.
Burning incidents by the Nazis in modern times or by the Christians, Muslims and others in the olden days was intended to destroying those books’ messages, to destroy their existence altogether. The purpose of those events was that human beings never get a chance to read those manuscripts.
Pastor Terry Jones’ intended Quran-burning event was intended not for destroying the vestiges of the Quran, not to destroy its message. Instead, it was meant for drawing people’s attention to its message; it was about asking people of the world to read this book and find out the message it contains. It was, in actuality, an attempt to serve a book’s purpose, i.e. it be read by as many people as possible. However, the way to advertise it was odd. Yet, many authors, including me, would be happiest had anyone, whether Pastor Jones or Muslim fanatics, would try to do the same with their books.
Nonetheless, this Quran-burning saga had a perfect ending. The burning did not occur; still it served its purpose in the best possible way. Civilized minds cannot just accept that a book gets burned whatever its message is. This saga has given us respite from that distress of consciences, and still has achieved its goal. That goal is: draw attention of the world to read this book. Thanks to media coverage it received, also thanks to Muslim outrage in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, the attention of the world has been drawn to what Pastor Jones said about the Quran: there are good things in the Quran; there are also very bad things.
Now come to the question: Why is the aborted Quran-burning saga a perfect memorial for the 9/11 attack victims on its 9th anniversary?
The 9/11 attacks were inspired by the violent and barbaric passages contained in the Quran. While those fell in the 9/11 attacks constitute only a negligibly tiny fraction of the total victims, hundreds of millions, of the violence inspired by this vilest of books ever written in history, it nonetheless can serve as a signature event in the history of Islam, potentially putting an end to Quran’s indefatigable violence once and for all. And that can only be achieved by drawing attention of global masses, Muslim or otherwise, to its message, by prodding and inspiring people to read the Quran carefully.
Unfortunately, the message that our politicians and the media have spread out since the 9/11 attacks has not been directed to that end, but to its opposite. While their messages should have been for careful reading of Islam and its holy texts, they become the ambassador of portraying Islam as a “religion of peace”, the Quran as a “repertoire of peaceful divine messages”.
Nonetheless, drawing attention of the world to the true message of Islam, despite desperate attempts to obfuscate it by our politicians and media, are getting across the masses, thanks to vile actions of Islamists themselves and somewhat helped by small-time media outlets like ours. The ever-increasing disapproval of Islam among non-Muslims across the world, some 71% New Yorkers’ disapproval of the Ground Zero mosque, and the fast-growing build of the community of ex-Muslims etc. are a reflection of that.
Yet, it is an awful insult that the same treacherous leaders would go to the 9/11 attack-sites on the anniversary days to sermonize for the well-being of the victims’ soul. While we have witnessed over the past years enough sermons on the 9/11 anniversary by these politicians, treacherous to the souls of fallen victims of the attack, Pastor Jones’ adventure was a perfect gift on their death anniversary, because it sent out a message what those fallen innocent soul would want most: study Islam and take measure not to let other innocent men and women like them ever fall victim to it.
The 9/11 attack can be a signature event in history concerning Islam. Its victims could be proudest of the horrendous death they suffered, only if we would treasure and exploit it the right way. While humanity, foremost the souls of the 9/11 attack victims, has been betrayed our leaders, politicians and the media, the awakening to the vileness of the Quran is obviously, albeit slowly, growing which would eventually ensure the final downfall of Islam. Pastor Jones’ Quran-burning stunt has helped that cause like no other by drawing attention, widely, to where the problem of Islam lies.
The success of this stunt has been best summarized by Jones himself. When asked for his reaction to the casualties in violent protests in Afghan, Jones termed it “absolutely terrible” and added: “I haven’t even done anything. I think it reveals… the violence in Islam. Just the mere mentioning of it, just the threat, causes them to kill people, to protest, to say they are going to kill the president. I think it is quite obvious that what we are saying is definitely, definitely true.”
Pastor Jones’ Quran-burning stunt has undoubtedly achieved its objectives, much more than what he could have expected. He has produced the best advertisement for humanity to study this book and make an understanding of it, which is the only recipe for Islam’s complete and final downfall. And then, only then, would the souls of the 9/11 attack victims’ mournful souls would rest in peace.
Yet, being an ex-Muslim atheist and liberal humanist, I am somewhat uncomfortable that it done by a fundamentalist pastor. But when that’s going to help achieve one of the best good things that can happen to humanity, I would take it whoever does it.
M. A. Khan is the author of Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery, and the editor of islam-watch.org Website.