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Burning Holy Quran, Burning Humanity – OpEd

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Burning the Holy Quran was in fact burning the pedestals of humanity as Islam is the religion of benevolence, love and compassion, and insulting this divine religion is like offending humanity.

By realizing his heinous dream of burning the Holy Quran in what was advertised to be a protest at the construction of an Islamic center on the Ground Zero site in Manhattan, pastor Terry Jones and his cronies confirmed that religious intolerance and disrespect for minorities constitute the firmly established values of the country which is boldly claimed to be the cradle of plurality, freedom and civilization.

The small evangelical church of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida drew widespread international attention in the late 2010 when its delirious pastor Terry Jones pledged to burn 200 copies of the holy book of Muslims on the anniversary of 9/11 attacks. Jones abandoned his satanic proposal following the growing international controversies and vowed never to burn the Holy Quran; however, on March 20, 2011, he broke his promise and burnt copies of the holy book amid the deafening silence of the mainstream media and governmental officials in the United States who indifferently watched the desecration of the holiest sacrament of more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide and turned a blind eye to the most loathsome act which could have happened with regards to the religious values of a large group of people.

By burning the Holy Quran, Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters tacitly insulted the Muslim identity, showing their apathy to the common values of more than 1.5 billion people who worship a unique God, believe in a celestial prophet and read a divine Book like the rest of Abrahamic religions namely Christianity and Judaism.

Some commentators believe Terry Jones, as a result of certain mental problems, has carried out the devil act of desecrating the Holy Quran to win international renown. They believe his act aimed at serving the interests of the American Zionist circles and gaining popularity among the radical, extremist Zionists.

Pastor Terry Jones, who has a black record of animosity towards Muslims and had previously called Islam the root of violence and terrorism, wanted to become the champion of resistance against Islam and satisfy his fundamentalist Zionist bosses.

The church in which Terry Jones presides has also been a center of the propagation of Islamophobic sentiments. In 2009, Dove World posted a sign on its lawn, reading “Islam is of the Devil.” Several members of the church also sent their children to school in August 2009 wearing t-shirts with “Islam is of the Devil” print on the back.

The abhorrent act of Terry Jones was in continuation of the Islamophobia drama written and played by the US and European governments who want to alienate the Muslims and destabilize their situation.

The 2010 Indian movie “My Name is Khan” impressively depicts the growth of anti-Islamic bias in the West in general and the US in particular following the 9/11 attacks. It portrays the difficulties of being a Muslim in the United States and the unjustifiable prejudice of the society against Muslims. The movie dexterously shows the post-9/11 prejudice against the Muslims and the fact that living in the US as a Muslim is rather difficult.

According to Council on American-Islamic Relations 2010 census, Muslims constitute 2.3 percent of the US population. So, the question arises here: isn’t burning the holy book of Muslims an offensive insult to this considerable minority and other Muslims living in other parts of the world?

Islam is a religion of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The Holy Quran calls on Muslims to seriously respect the religious and cultural beliefs of other religions and treat them reverentially.

We read in the Holy Quran (60:8,9), “Allah forbids you not respecting those who fight you not for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah forbids you only respecting those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers.”

Islam has always been concerned about preserving the dignity of every man. In the verse 70 of Surah Al-Isra, we read, “And we have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what we have created, with [definite] preference.”

Moreover, there are several sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in which he advises Muslims to protect the rights of the minorities and avoid provocative acts which might offend the followers of other religions.

Hence, Muslims never insult the religious values and sacraments of other religions. They never draw offensive cartoons of Prophet Jesus, burn the Holy Bible or call the Christians or Jews terrorists. Moreover, Muslims have always tried to help others regardless of their religion, race, color and language.

This article also appeared at Press TV and is reprinted with the author’s permission

Kourosh Ziabari

Kourosh Ziabari

Kourosh Ziabari is an award-winning Iranian journalist, writer and media correspondent. He represents Fair Observer and Your Middle East in Iran. He also conducts interviews and writes commentaries for the Iran Review news and analysis website as a staff writer and reporter. His articles and interviews have been published on Tehran Times, Press TV, International Policy Digest, Foreign Policy Journal, Global Research, Turkish Weekly Journal, Strategic Culture Foundation, Al-Arabiya, Counterpunch, Voltaire Network, Baltimore Chronicle and Opinion Maker. He currently blogs for The Huffington Post and writes op-eds for the UK-based Middle East Eye. In 2009, while an undergraduate student of English Language and Literature, he was selected to represent the Middle East students in the International Student Energy Summit 2009 in Calgary, Canada. Kourosh Ziabari is working with Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations as an Iran analyst. He has conducted interviews with some 380 prominent world leaders, politicians, diplomats, UN officials, academicians, public intellectuals, authors, media personalities, journalists and historians. Kourosh Ziabari is the winner of the silver medal at the National Festival of Superior Iranian Youth. He has won three awards in Iran's National Press Festival and also been a member of the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing. He was a member of Stony Brook Independent magazine's editorial board and a member of the Kenya-based World Student Community for Sustainable Development. In June 2015, he received a fellowship from Deutsche Welle / European Youth Press to attend and cover the Global Media Forum 2015 in the German city of Bonn. In August 2015, he was named by the Hawaii-based East-West Center as a Senior Journalists Seminar Fellow 2015 to travel to the United States, Malaysia and Pakistan for a reporting and dialog tour aimed at bridging the gaps in the relations between the United States and the Muslim world. He is also a recipient of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellowship in Cultural Journalism awarded to him in November 2015 by the FNPI foundation in Colombia.

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