Burning Qur’ans and the Desecration of Synagogues, Mosques, Churches, Temples and other Religious Shrines is an Unholy Act
By Fahim A. Knight-El
This writer would ask his readers to just reason with him for just a moment as he evaluate this present day culture of intolerance; thus, on September 11, 2001, the entire world was altered due to a United States Government induced catastrophe, which fostered one of the greatest appeals to the fears of America, in particular and the world in general, and exposed the psychological vulnerability of a spoiled and disengaged people. The United States Government led us down the road of National Security and used the media to paint the religion of Islam and Muslims as terrorist and the natural enemies of the West and was inherently evil (and we needed to be protected from radical Islam). This writer has written various topics dealing with Islam, terrorism, 9/11, and the value of tolerance, thus, I went back through those various articles that I had written within the last three years and assembled what I characterized as some of the best quotes that I have offered relative to addressing this recent media controversy centered around Reverend Terry Jones, a pastor in Gainesville, Florida and his intentions to burn Holy Qur’ans on 9/11. (Reference: Reverend Terry Jones; YouTube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfPPtHtUfmQ).
To remain silent in this charade renders us all as being complicit, it doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with Islam or disagree with Islam (it doesn’t matter what your faith tradition may be) because tomorrow it could be someone burning Torahs and the Gospel (new testament) as well as desecrating synagogues, churches, holy shrines and temples. We must let Reverend Jones and the world know that it’s wrong and is unacceptable behavior in a civilized society to burn other faiths religious texts. Many interfaith groups consisting of various denominations, clergy and religions have come together to make unified statements condemning this proposed act of burning Qur’ans as being immoral (not illegal) and to do this as a way of commemorating the ninth anniversary of 9/11 tragedy is totally insane. Everyone with a voice should speak out against this type of criminal activity.
This writer was glad to see President Barack Obama and United States Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top level White House cabinet members have condemn Reverend Jones proposed burning of Qur’ans. Reverend Jones ignorance is steeped in the government's version of what took place on September 11, 2001 and he actually believes Muslims were responsible for the 9/11 hoax and it is this duping and deception that have led him to adopt such an outlandish measure of protest. This writer has therefore, pulled excerpts from previous articles that I have written and meshed them together within this article as a response to all this intolerable hatred aimed at Islam and Muslims that have been taking place since the proposed construction of the one hundred million dollar mosque near ground zero.
Why would a Christian preacher seek to burn the holiest book belonging to Islam (one of the three Abrahamic faiths) in which I am of the opinion that the desecration of any religious holy book or edifice should be considered a hate crime and punished under United States federal laws. However, this writer would agree that Reverend Jones has the First Amendment Right on his side (protection under freedom of speech and expression), but where is his ethical and moral compass relative to being tolerant of other religious faiths that might differ from his own and most of all being a Christian Minister of the Gospel; how does this factor into his worldview? Jones is appealing to what appears to be an undercurrent and sentiment that are rooted in a false sense of patriotism and is being highly irresponsible in inciting the good ole boys to commit this type of act, which will be viewed as offensive to over two billion Muslims throughout the world and will reverberate negatively even throughout the non-Muslim world. Reverend Jones has not taking into account the backlash this will have on diplomatic and international relations with Muslims throughout the world and their perception of the United States of America. (Reference: Rabbi Saperstein; YouTube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTTfB-1UHrY).
He has every right to openly disagree with Islam and I will defend his right as a dissenter to condemn and oppose Islam, but to desecrate the Muslim Holy book will create possibly many consequences and perhaps compromise United States national security abroad and domestically. This is wrong and we all have an obligation to condemn and repudiate this type of action and behavior as being sinister and un-American. Some time these type megalomaniacs are looking to create publicity stunts in order to draw attention to themselves and create a media frenzy which to build their personal statue amongst the dissatisfied group or organization that they are attempting to engage.
This writer took upon himself last Friday to visited the local Muslim Masjid named Jamat Ibad Ar-Rahman in Durham, North Carolina and I kind of went incognito in which not to draw attention to myself, I put on a Muslim fez in order that I might look like a Muslim in appearance; thus, this was during Juumah Service (Friday Prayer) and after making congregation Salat (prayer) the Imam spoke spiritual words of comfort. I did not hear some radical and/or militant version of Islam being spewed, but heard a message of tolerance being spoken from the Qur’an and sayings being quoted from the Hadiths (sayings of the prophet) and I must say I left satisfied that these were God fearing people who believed in their religion and were willing to live in peace and harmony with other non-Muslim communities. However, this is not to suggest nor imply that there aren't vestiges of Islam and Muslims who hate America and all that it stands for, and Jihad (holy war) is their ultimate motivation and agenda (no doubt militant radical Islam is a reality). The Muslims are celebrating the Holy Month of Ramadan during this month, a time to reflect on Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him) receiving the Qur’an as a revelation being revealed by Allah (God) via the Angel Jabril (Gabriel) which took twenty-three and one half years to complete. Moreover, the burning of Qur’ans during the holy Month of Ramadan (or any time else) will only stir up a hornets nests because it will be viewed as the ultimate disrespect against Islam.(Reference: Imam Warith Mohammed; YouTube clip; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlkZTljNYgo).
Some have come against the Muslims and their having the right to build a Mosque and cultural center a few blocks away from ground zero and have exemplified intolerance toward the project and have argue that the Muslim Americans are not entitled to being protected under the First Amendment Right of the United States Constitution. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (the Imam and principal leader over the Mosque project) spoke on CNN last night with Soledad O’Brien (very unqualified to interview a mindset like Imam Rauf) and I think he articulated his vision and addressed the controversy surrounding the project to build the Mosque near Ground Zero. The Imam has done goodwill ambassador work in the Middle East and the Islamic world on behalf of the United States State Department (might even be a covert CIA Agent). (Reference: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf; YouTube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd_TuTLu_Hw).
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, perhaps is an agent provocateur for the U.S. Government and probably is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberger, which means his objective isn’t really about any loyalty to Islam and Muslims, it is more about furthering the New World Order Agenda and globalization agenda; in particular if he is stomping for the State Department. The government views Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as an asset and will use him and his Mosque to serve their interest, that is the part that most pundits are missing.
The United States Government and the American media after the 9/11 crisis brought the religion of Islam front and center and subsequent to this incident, Islam as a religion would never be the same again. Islam prior to 9/11 had almost lingered in obscurity, in particular in the United States of America. Although, the religion of Islam claims about two billion adherents and is perhaps the fastest growing religion in the world, it’s projected in the very near future to surpassed Christianity as the number one faith tradition in the world.
Thus, as stated above Islam, Arabs and Muslims appeared front and center, as the number one topic of discussion within a nation that had become so ethnocentric and so culturally arrogant—no one outside of our sovereign boarders mattered. 9/11 created a hostile, insensitive and intolerable environment mainly aimed at Arabs, in particular but all Muslims in general, they were being viewed with suspicion and Muslim discrimination was going unabated. The American people perhaps already had some preconceived prejudices against foreign Muslims. Perhaps for no other reason than they were not Christians and some had followed the lopsided reporting of the Middle East conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians—and had accepted the propaganda that the Arab Muslims were bad people because they practiced a “strange” culture and prayed to a God other than Jesus Christ. (Reference: Interfaith Group and their response to burning Qur'ans; YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqke2ZieWkA&feature=related).
Perhaps there is something innately in us that drives the human psyche to view anything different as being not equally worthy for consideration and more prone to be ridiculed and subjugated by the dominant culture. For example, directly after September 11, 2001 hoax and bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City and it was declared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Department of Defense that Osama bin Laden and his Jihadist inspired movement of Al-Qaeda committed one of worst military tragedies and allege criminal acts on the shores of the continental United States—he was considered to be Muslim and Arab; it did not help that the Bush administration had espoused propaganda, which they intentionally induced and created a climate of fear within the United States that reverberated around the world.
The United States media depicted Arab Muslims as having a political and religious philosophy bent on destroying the West and had declared America their number one enemy. The Powers-that-be understood that in order to maximize their manipulation and deceitful ploys; they first had to create a culture of fear by blaming 9/11 on Arabs and Muslims in their scheme this was a perfect diversionary tactic—they picked a people who were different from the American dominant cultural and with a minority representation inside the country and was essentially powerless. The American people pre-9/11 knew very little about the religion of Al-Islam and the diversity of these ancient people, the religious politics, the various Islamic cultures, the various Islamic sects and schisms, etc.
Although, Muslims from West Africa had arrived to the Americas as captives and hostages of the Transatlantic Slave Trade as early as the 1500s and some historians maintained that the Moors during the 8th Century had voyages to the Americas long before Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Ponce De Leon, Vaso Da Gama, Hernando de Soto, Ferdinand Magellan, etc., and had established diplomatic treaties with the Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere before the coming of the European explorers. But in the late 1800s Muslims and early 1900s Islam formalized it-self and took root as a sub-culture and counter culture in the United States; with the exception of the Nation of Islam as religious movement, Islam up until September 11, 2001 had remained in obscurity, but 9/11 for better or worst changed that dynamic.
These prejudices after 9/11 led to Muslim Masjids and Mosques being attacked and desecrated because there were so many cultural misunderstandings that existed between Muslim societies in East and Christian societies in the West; these misconceptions were shrouded in ignorance and fear based, which was enough ammunition to incite the uninformed and dominant culture zealots who were motivated by racial and religious hatred to inflict vigilante style justice on Muslims and made unfair generalizations against all Arabs and Muslims. Thus, blaming an entire Muslim religious world community for committing a crime that killed over 3,000 Americans—constituting a loss of human life and property.
These vigilante groups immediately began to show their ignorance by attacking and even killing Sikhs and Hindus in the United States ignorantly assuming because these people had brown skin, dressed Eastern in attire appearance, spoke with an accent and wore turbans they had to be Middle Eastern Arab Muslims and better yet terrorist. So Sikhs and Hindus were mistakenly being classified as Muslims and after 9/11 became targets of religious and racial discrimination that were being fueled by the dominant culture. Many of the attackers were not even aware of the historical and religious antagonism that existed between the Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, but their racism and cultural ignorance led to indiscriminate acts of violence against innocent people who became the victims of bigotry and culture insensitivity.
The dominant culture was fully aware that cultural ignorance would incite and infuriate a segment of our society that would be willing and capable of inflicting violence and creating social discord against a people that looked different and worshipped dissimilar. Many of these people already had negative convictions of Islam and Muslims, but perhaps had never personally met a Muslim, which to make an intelligent and rational decision about their religious culture, race and ethnicity that may have assisted them in debunking generalizations and unfair stereotypes that were being spewed by politically inspired entities. Many Americans had formulated their negative opinions of Muslims from Western media sources and made the ignorant assumption that all Muslims were “terrorist” and had a political vendetta against the West.(Reference: Interfaith group denouncing buring of the Holy Qur'an; Youtube Clip; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ep_ymqu2KU&feature=related
Our lack of spiritual development toward accepting and embracing the whole of humanity in all of its cultures expressions; renders us inheritably flawed in the spirit of human compassion and tolerance for all. The failure and unwillingness to make an attempt to comprehend and appreciate the beauty and the differences in people's—language, race, religious belief, nationality, etc., have placed humanity on a reckless, as well as dangerous social path.
The majority of Americans had formulated a negative perception of Islam based on sensationalizing of Salman Rushdie 1988 book titled, “Satanic Verses” in which the majority of the Islamic world viewed this book as heresy and blasphemous of Islam, Muslims and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ayatollah Rullah Khomeini, the former president and religious leader of Iran declared Rushdie’s book “Satanic Verses” and Rushdie as enemies of Islam in which he placed a one million dollar bounty on the head of Rushdie, which sent Rushdie in permanent exile until the death of Imam Khomeini. Imam Khomeini also called America the “Great Satan” and it was these antagonistic media stratagem that America came to identify with Islam.
If culture is based on learned behavior then American propaganda machines had become the biggest influence and the determining factor on how people around the world, as well as those domestically are being perceived; in particular those deemed as America’s enemies and are their difference being exploited to accomplish a political end. These tactics were implemented to foster distrust and suspicion and to simultaneously falsely create a need and urgency for American patriotism and nationalism based on these perceived prejudices that were concocted within the culture of fear. The ultimate political objective was the old divide and conquer scheme—the wickedly wise could always play on the sensitive charged emotions that go along with culture ignorance and manipulate these misunderstandings to their advantages. This was the case in America with the Muslim community right after 9/11. These types of political fallacies have an even far more ranging implications—these cultural bias eventually would help shape America’s foreign and public policy.
Fahim A. Knight-El Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of goodwill, of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolism and reinterpreted the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlightened world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight-EL can be reached at fahimknight@ yahoo.com.
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
Fahim A. Knight-El