The good news: the controversial Dove World Quran burning will not go ahead. At least, not today.
The bad news: the event may still crop up again some time in the future. Pastor Jones didn’t call it off because he recognized the futility and ultimate injustice of book-burning. He called it off, he says, because “he had commitments from Muslim leaders that a mosque would not be built near Ground Zero”. So much for his desire to save the lost infidels from the fiery pit.
Hey, wait a minute. The people behind the Ground Zero Mosque plan (which, as has been pointed out before, is neither a mosque nor on Ground Zero) say they’ve made no such commitment and have no plans to meet up with Pastor Jones at all. What? Apparently the Pastor is living in some sort of parallel fantasy universe.
Oh, well – whatever contributes to an atmosphere of greater tolerance and fewer book-burnings. If parallel fantasy universes can bring about peace, I’m on board.
But then, the worse news: if Dove World isn’t going to burn Qurans, Westboro Baptist will pick up the intolerant slack. It’s what they’re there for, really.
I guess as long as we’ve got Westboro Baptist, the Photoshop image I’m so proud of will likely come in handy in the future. All in all, though, I’ve had nicer silver linings.
I guess it just serves to remind us: we have to remain vigilant. It’s always somebody. We’re a long way from peace and tolerance just yet. And the censorship game carries on.
. . . there are at least a few things you can do to register your opposition.
- Sign the petition addressed to the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, asking him to please NOT burn the Quran. It even says please!
- Check out the Quran. Literally, at your local library. (Or somewhere else.) This Facebook site calls for us to show overtures towards peace and understanding by making 9/11 a day to read the Quran instead of burning it.
- Speak your mind to make your thoughts on the book-burning plan clear. I plan on plastering my favourite anti-book-burning quote all over the place, everywhere I can think of . . . although really it’s sort of sad that I have to even mention it in the 21st century.
Here’s the quote: “Where books are burned in the end people will be burned, too.” Heinrich Heine, 1797-1856. I would absolutely love to see this take over the Internet for the next couple of days as a reminder of the high cost of censorship.
Hey, maybe while we’re at it we can spread pictures of famous book burnings – my personal favourite being the pre-Holocaust Nazis – to drive home how prescient this quote really is. I think I may even change my Facebook pic until Saturday as a form of protest. Wow, this whole ‘educating and reminding’ thing can really go places once you get the creative juices flowing!
This is not a religious battle, Christianity versus Islam. This is about culture – the culture of hate and ignorance going up against the culture of peace and toleration. And make no mistake, there are examples of both cultures in every religious tradition. I call on well-meaning people of every faith and of no faith at all to stand up for the basic right to be treated with respect and decency by those who don’t agree with you. Which is not really a basic right generally, but I was under the impression that we live in a civil society, and it should certainly be a basic right here. Let’s make the point to Muslims here and abroad that not everybody in the West is like these so-called Christians who want to burn away somebody else’s faith.
For the record – yes, people have the right to burn any book they like . . . but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. And actually, I’m not certain whether this demonstration legally amounts to the kind of hate speech prohibited by American law. But I do know how I would feel if I were a Muslim woman watching this spectacle unfold, and I don’t want to see anybody feeling the way I’d feel under those circumstances. That’s not a statement about which religion is right or wrong, or about law or civil liberties or censorship or any of the rest. That’s just compassion, people.
Image via the Ministry of the Holy of Holies.
You may have heard about it: the Christian blog on Dove World Outreach Center that plans to spend this coming Saturday (that’s 9/11, for those keeping track) burning copies of the Quran to “raise awareness and warn”. They say it’s not an act of hate, because Islam is dangerous and therefore the loving thing to do is to warn people both within and outside of Islam. I say it’s ironic that the organization is called “Dove World”, given that the dove is a symbol of peace.