The Quran Defiled?



Newsweek’s Quran-down-the-crapper allegations, published after a suspicious sourcing process, now a media staple, sparked deadly riots from Jakarta to Jalalabad —17 dead so far, presumably Muslims killed by their co-religionists. Just for good measure, 200 Qurans were likely burned when a library was set on fire. How did the neoconservatives respond? As “committed cultural and religious relativists who firmly believe a good democratic heart throbs in every thorax,” they groveled obsequiously —”Any desecration of the Koran would not be tolerated,” kvetched Condi. And they pretended there was nothing deviant about the Islamic response —and its devastation. Can you imagine contemporary Christians reacting so savagely to the perennial disrespect their teachings elicit? (The ACLU would need to relocate to an undisclosed bunker.) A prominent Rabbi is beaten to a pulp in Moscow (currently a regular occurrence around the world). Do his followers go on a rampage? From Buddhists to Bahá’ís —such barbarism is almost unheard of in this day and age among peoples of other faiths. This reaction is yet another reminder why we have no place in those parts of the world (although, to be fair to the administration, the riots were a response to putative wrongdoing in Guanta¡namo). The storm alleged to have begun in a toilet bowel is also a testament to the impotence of American empire. If one wants to transform the Muslim world —something I’ve opposed on ethical, pragmatic, and historical grounds —one must have a core. Multiculturalism and majoritarianism are no match for fundamentalist fanaticism.