Thu 23rd Oct 2014 | Last updated: Thu 23rd Oct 2014 at 10:47am

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Whether the Koran is burned or not, Muslims will think the West has it in for them

Protests about how much we respect Islam do not seem to do much good

By on Thursday, 9 September 2010

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Centre (Photo: AP)

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Centre (Photo: AP)

The plan by a minuscule “extremist Christian” group to burn a pile of copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 has got a lot of people very jittery.

Hillary Clinton described the planned burning as a “disrespectful, disgraceful act”. More to the point, perhaps, David Petraeus, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, warned that there could be retaliatory action against US troops; presumably he meant from Afghans who would normally have been supportive or at least neutral. Protests have already taken place in the capital Kabul at which effigies of Pastor Terry Jones (of the ironically named Dove World Outreach Centre) were burned alongside the American flag.

Christians all over the world are busily disassociating themselves from the proposed Koran burning. L’Osservatore Romano, under the headline “No one burns the Koran”, reported Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (and before anyone says that should be “Mumbai”, “Bombay” is what the locals mostly still call it), saying “I condemn this completely insensitive threat that is disrespectful to the Holy Qur’an, on behalf of the Catholic Church”. L’Osservatore Romano went on to report that Christians around the world were protesting against the threatened event.

Well, no doubt they are. But it will all do no good: al-Qaeda has already said that this affair just shows how hostile to Islam we all are in the West, and that’s what will be generally believed, for all Hillary Clinton’s insistence that we all respect Islam, truly, we really do.

Now, I really do not think this book-burning (indeed, any burning of any book) should take place. But it probably will; and it’s no good Hillary Clinton pleading that no TV cameras should be present at the event. They will be, of course; and if no one intervenes to stop it, then the resulting image of Christians burning the Koran will be around the world in seconds.

The fact is that there is a way this could be handled if the local authorities in Gainesville, Florida, have the wit to think of it: it seems that this event will be illegal, because Pastor Jones has no permit for a bonfire. Why don’t they just have fire-engines at the ready, and charge in to put out the fire immediately: then the TV pictures would be of Christian firemen extinguishing this anti-Islamic outrage. Simple.

But would even that do any good? Would not the headlines all over the Middle and Far East then be “Christians commit waterlogging outrage against the Holy Qur’an”? The trouble is that whatever we do or say to try to reassure the Islamic world about our respect for them and their religion, they will continue to believe that we privately harbour a profound hostility towards them and everything they stand for.

We just don’t begin to understand them, that’s the problem. If they started to burn piles of Bibles, we wouldn’t turn a hair, because it’s not the material, physical reality of a copy of the Bible that makes it the Holy Bible, it’s what it says. Why don’t they think like that about mere physical copies of the Koran? Search me.

Meanwhile, I have a profound respect for Muslims and for their beliefs. Honestly. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  • catholic woman

    >>If they started to burn piles of Bibles, we wouldn’t turn a hair, because it’s not the material, physical reality of a copy of the Bible

    And why is it that we catholics enshrine and make pilgrimages to pieces of digit and fragments of this and that belonging to some “saint” dear Leading English Catholic Writer and Broadcaster (so you say yourself) ?

    No racism or antiIslam sentiments here I hope – cleverly disguised as holy Catholic writing??

  • Mamasnookems

    The koran teaches the muslims to lie, hurt their wives, Mohammad had a 9 year old wife, why should we respect that, it is not a peaceful religion. The koran is written my him, but the Bible is written in God's words by men who were filled with the Holy Spirit, i believe every word that comes out of the King James and other countries ban it, are not allowed to enter into any countries that reject Jesus. The Bible is the only truth out there and i believe what it says and how to follow Jesus and spread the true Gospel. We are saved by faith, not works of man or money, only by faith in Jesus. But with the burning of the koran spells trouble for this mans life who is doing it, but in a sense, he is burning the lies of the koran, it is a very bold move on his part. We are to love other and love our enemy and also preach the Gospel of Jesus. There is only one way to heaven and only one way. We really need to open our eyes and see the Truth. May the Lord Jesus protect this man's life.

  • frater sejunctus

    Why of why does a curial cardinal describe the koran as “holy”, and what does he mean by that adjective? And why did the late John Paul II allow himself to be photographed kissing a copy of the koran? That gesture and this turn of phrase don't seem all that congruent with the core Chrisstian confession “Iesous Kurios–Jesus is LORD.” It all makes a respectful outsider to the RC Church think that the traditionalists have a point.

  • Ajaybarot121

    ” The Bible is the only truth out there ” so your trying to say that Jesus was the only one to worship and all other religions and beliefs in the world are fake? the situation can be flipped back to you. For example, the story of Jesus being killed by Jews, is that not teaching betrayal and lies on behalf of the jews? furthermore is that a stereotype saying all jews are jesus killers? every religion has its own facts.. thats why there are followers of different religions in the world? what would this place be like if we all looked up to one god? … answer is hell. Mate people who have anything against the muslim religion should keep there noses out of the muslims business. If theres problems with al-Qaeda, keep the war with al-Qaeda … not the whole muslim community you racist thick fools! learn your places! america have no reason to even be at war with muslims in the first place! 9/11 was all faked by the US government and only a fool would deny it. Muslims were just a target/objective needed to reach oils and possibly a factor requiring elimination for world domination as Islam is the fastest growing religion at the moment! Americans are pussys, and this whole burning is a scam which should not be allowed to take place. Death to the man who introduced such an idea! and death to the racists who think all muslims are bad.. and more death to those judging a religious book which does not belong to them.. mind your own business and follow your own religion you fools!

  • Mamasnookems

    I work with 3 muslims from Bosnia, i don't agree with what they believe, but we still talk, i am talking about the radicals. Yes there is only One God, He is the creator of the world and universe and all that is on the earth, we will be all judged one day by God, no matter what your belief is in, He is going to judge everything you do and say. Yes i am accountable for what i say, I didn't say I hated them, we are to love our enemies,that is what Jesus taught us.

  • Swanvesta

    At Holy Mass, the priest kisses the page of the appropriate Gospel passage after he reads it. It might be ink and paper but it is the Gospel of the Lord.

    Some people burn national flags because they would like to burn that nation's values etc. They might be print ink, paper and cloth but they are symbols of values, matters etc. we do not take lightly as either – or both – people of faith or a nation. Mohammed al-Fayed made a bonfire of the Royal Coats of Arms which used to adorn Harrod's for years. I'm sure we are aware of the reasons why he did this.

    I'm surprised that it took a small town American evangelical pastor to organise a 'burn the Koran' day. I bet the extreme secularists are wondering why they have not thought about this wheeze before! These books are just print ink and paper to them. Religion causes wars, division, me to miss my bus this morning etc. The paper to print these books having been derived from trees needlessly cut down to propogate stuff, nonsense and fairy tales to the gullible, deluded, misguided and feeble minded. What a way to put one's money where one's mouth is for one's beliefs … and so public a statement, too!

    This, we'll have to see!

  • Mamasnookems

    My comment wasn't bad so i can't see why it had to be removed, it wasn't filled with any hate at all…….oh well. Believe and trust in Jesus alone and we should not fear man, but in God and Jesus is God.

  • Mundabor

    Dr. Oddie,
    those bent on hating the West will do it whatever you do and whatever you don't do.

    If you don't burn the Korans they'll have two thousand other grievances instead.

    They hate us because they want to.


  • catholic woman

    And we hate them, too, because clever people like Oddie play on our prejudices and emotions and help us on our way down the road of hatred with sleazy articles such as these.

    The burning has been called off anyway – no thanks to Oddie and his rather feeble attempts at convincing us of his disapproval.

    Shame on Catholic Herald and shame on UK Catholics for letting people like Oddie and the Butcher-by-proxy Blair besmirch our collective reputation.

  • Pjr Michel

    No-one seems to know that Imans learnt the whole Koran by heart 600 pages. They recite it inside the rank of the congregation during the month of Ramadan and at night time.
    Does this mean that the US should burn every Iman because they are the living memory of the Koran?
    Do they mean we are going to slaughter every clergyman attending to the Mosques?
    I am afraid the one who is going to be slaughtered as a lamb is this curious pastor.
    Bible and the gun was an option for the 18 century during the conquest of the far east against native poor indigens. But Muslims are Jews. Are not they? Yes they are real Jews.
    Are the US going to slaugther their brothers who are the Jews apart of Israel as well?

  • Yve Martin

    Please note that the koran burning was targeted against christianity before anything else. If you look closely, that man probably hates the pope more than the muslims. If you look closely, you would probably find that he is more of a free-mason than anything else, a class of agitated spirits that seek to blind human vision for the purpose of domination. The man mixes religion with politics yet that is what he claimed to be against and while he said that he was only aginst the extremists, he targeted the book of another faith to prove his racists instincts.

    When he chose to publicise his cause, it was not through any arguments but the sale of a book, caps, tea mugs costing a minimun of $15 an item. And the cover page of his book had a picture of a veiled black female. Is that what is representative of the 9/11 terrorists? No. He is a racist and while he claims to be a friend of Israel, i do not agree with him either as Israel doesnt need the support of hopeless clerics such as him to exist.

  • Yve Martin

    its was only said that the book was regarded as holy and that is a right that God allows to every one. catholicism is not a reactive faith, we preach the truth and everything else become self-exposed. we dont take away peoples opinions by force, we give them our opinions and pray that the new truth takes over every thing else.

    more, while the catholic church doesnt agree with islam, there is no theological evidence that islam is the works of the devil otherwise i would require explanations as to why there have been far less wars and genocides in the muslim world.

    i am a catholic, i see catholicism as the way but i don't agree with mixing geopolitical issues with religions otherwise, some other people would point to protestantism as the backbone of a capitalist system that has and continues to exploit human resources. We know that that is far from being the exact reality of human tragedy.

  • Yve Martin

    Let us not be stupid.The fear associated with that burning of the koran doesn't go in the fact that a person is anti-islam (in fact anti-islam all other competing religions are). The fear is in the anti-muslims character of the thing through the methods used. The man is not interested in proving how he is any better, he only cares about selling anti-islamic slogans on rather expensive caps, tea mugs, and a books for which he chose a black veiled woman as the the perfect image of the devil!

    He is certainly a sort of free-mason or other kind of evil worshipper seeking to agitate the world for greedy gains. I would not be surprise if he was paid by some larger demonic cults and I get shocked that we christians are so weak i spotting demonic intentions!

  • Cmran70

    Burning the koran, an evil book, is justified! It teaches violence to all non-muslims!

    Read what it says: Quran (2:191-193) – “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]…and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”

    Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.

    Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

    Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

    Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah”

    Quran (8:57) – “If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”

    These are just some of the many verses of VIOLENCE and HATE the koran teaches.
    It should be burned not out of revenge or hate itself, but because it simply is an evil book that teches to hate and terorize anyone outside the muslim religion!

    How about you, what do you think of its verse about hate?

  • Mamasnookems

    Just avoid the Koran and stand up for Jesus and the Bible which is 100% true and Holy Spirit inspired men wrote it, it is God's Word!

  • Mamasnookems

    Yes the Koran is very evil and has no truth in it at all. I wouldn't advertise that you are burning it all over the world and have death threats taken out on you and your family.

  • Nadir

    Have you tried to see in what context those verses are written?