Monday, September 13, 2010

Koran burning: Muslims should also be quick to condemn aggressors in their midst

No it's not Pakistan ~ its London outside the US Embassy.

...is that much of the outcry over the Koran burning was driven not so much by a sense that the act in itself was wrong and worthy of condemnation, but by a fear of terrible reprisals, with some going as far as to say that world peace was at stake.

While Muslim leaders were quick .. to condemn the burning of the Koran.., they have been remarkably silent on the atrocities that continue to be carried out by Muslims against Christians in majority-Muslim countries year after year..

and have said very little on this occasion to dissuade potential aggressors from harming Christians.

Call the shouting screaming Islamists ~ the Other Brothers to the Muslims in the west. Even Imam Rauf says that his other brothers might attack if the mosque is moved. Approximately 2/3 of US Muslims are foreign born. That means that they come directly from societies where they are given supremacy under the law. And for their Islamic beliefs ~ there is a part of them that expects this to continue even in the west. Further what we don't hear about so much about is that in the Islamic world, politicians and leading figures are regularly threatened by the more extreme elements in these countries ~ for trying to modernize laws or improve rights and the like. So it is easy to conclude that for Muslims there is an acceptable level of violence ~ that westerners generally find appalling. This could well be behind their silence.


Religious tension has been the hallmark of this year’s 9/11 anniversary. That any Christian should deem it fit to burn copies of another faith’s holy text demonstrates a bewildering lack of judgement, not to mention a complete misreading of their own Scriptures.

The planned action by the Dove World Outreach Center, an obscure and hitherto unknown church in Gainesville, Florida, is the perfect example of how the actions of even the minutest part of the global church can have huge ramifications for believers worldwide.

The consequences of such an abhorrent act would have touched all corners of the global church’s work, from inter-faith relations, to relief and development, to mission and evangelism - the Gospel is for Muslims too but if we commit acts that only incite them to hate Christians, then it should come as no surprise that they don’t want to hear what we’ve got to say.

Picking up the pieces in the aftermath of such an ill-construed act would have been every Christian’s task and for Christians living in countries where parts of the majority Muslim population are hostile, there would have undoubtedly been many pieces to pick up. That is why there is another dimension to this furore that must not be overlooked.

Christian leaders from all around the world and across the denominations rightfully condemned the ‘International Burn a Koran Day’, which had been planned by the tiny church to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


Politicians, including US President Barack Obama, the media and Muslim leaders also rightfully condemned the action.

What was noticeably absent from the outcry, however, was any condemnation of those Muslims who threatened to respond to the burning with “dire consequences”, including attacking churches and their members.

In fact, this newspaper’s feeling is that much of the outcry over the Koran burning was driven not so much by a sense that the act in itself was wrong and worthy of condemnation, but by a fear of terrible reprisals, with some going as far as to say that world peace was at stake.

While Muslim leaders were quick – and right – to condemn the burning of the Koran in a country that prides itself on its religious freedom, they have been remarkably silent on the atrocities that continue to be carried out by Muslims against Christians in majority-Muslim countries year after year, and have said very little on this occasion to dissuade potential aggressors from harming Christians.

Some of the worst acts committed in recent years have included: the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls by Islamic extremists in Indonesia in 2005; the abduction of 23 South Korean missionaries and the murder of two of them by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2007; and the burning to death of at least six Christians by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 2009.

It must also be noted that in several majority-Muslim countries, such as Iran, the practice of Christianity is severely restricted, with Christians regularly arrested and churches raided or closed down without explanation by the authorities. In Saudi Arabia, there is no religious freedom at all and apostasy (conversion to Christianity) is punishable by death.

While it was absolutely right that the world condemned the plans of Pastor Terry Jones and his congregation, it is equally right that acts of aggression against Christians are condemned with the same consternation, by Muslim leaders in particular.

In sum, while the Muslim world may have been incensed by the proposed burning of Korans by a US church, they must also acknowledge and make clear to their fellow believers that any violence against Christians by Muslims is equally unacceptable.

Christian Today

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