Who is responsible for the desecration of the Korans in Afghanistan? The true answer may surprise you, particularly if you have seen the headlines that President Obama has apologized and accepted responsibility on behalf of America and the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.
Muslim scholars, like the leaders of most religions disagree on many points of their own faith, but there is widespread agreement on several points. One of those is the issue of writing in, underlining, or notating even in the margins of the Koran.
The scholars have tussled with this issue from the beginning of their religion, arguing over whether or not it is acceptable to add page numbers or chapter headings.
Muslims believe that the Koran, when written in Arabic, is the true word of god, and there are a host of prohibitions and special instructions on who can even touch the book. Among those who are forbidden are non-believers (unless they are wearing gloves or other protective coverings), Muslim women who are menstruating and Muslims who have not ritually purified themselves.
Chapter V of the Geneva Convention specifically addresses the religious rights and liberties to be afforded to prisoners of war. NATO and Coalition Forces readily complied with this by providing prisoners and detainees access to Korans. This was deemed both insufficient and an insult by some Muslims, as there was no proof of what we here in the United States would call legal chain of custody. The complaint was that if non-Muslims had touched these books, as was probable given that they were being supplied by NATO and Coalition Forces, Muslims could not thereafter use, or even touch these books because they were deemed unclean.
In response, Muslim leaders were allowed to supply the Korans, and they either passed out the books or put them in a library or reading room for the use of prisoners, detainees and others. According to leading Muslim scholars, when a Koran becomes worn out or is in some way defaced, say by writing in it, there are two proper options for disposing of these unusable or desecrated books. One is burying.
The other is burning.
The scholars argue at great length and detail on when which of these methods should be employed and when. The short answer is if it is a matter of a copy being worn out, ritual burial in a place where people are not likely to tread is proper. Many scholars argue that once a book has been deemed unclean because of intentional desecration, such as by being written in, thereby polluting the word of god, the book should be burned. Back to the current news.
It was discovered that copies of the Koran that had been supplied to prisoners of war and detainees in Afghanistan had been written in. By self-proclaimed Muslims. What’s more, these writings were messages inciting violence and attacks. It has yet to be determined if some of these messages were already present in these copies of the Koran when they were supplied by the religious leaders granted access to the prisoners under the terms of the Geneva Convention.
The decision was made to remove these books and others as well, which is also appropriate and allowable under the Geneva Convention. The most expeditious way to dispose of the suspect items was to burn them.
When a few workers noticed copies of the Koran in the burn pile, the uproar began. A half-truth was allowed to spread. ‘Americans are burning Korans’ became the word on the street, rather than ‘those who call themselves Muslim have desecrated our holy books’.
Repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it is truth, particularly when those who know the truth remain silent. It is understandable why the military commanders did not want to say how they discovered these books were being used as vehicles for messages of violence and attacks. It is simply a matter of protecting the intelligence sources.
The next step that should have happened was a simple communication to President Kharzai.
“Mr. Kharzai, inform your people that those who are bastardizing and twisting your religion, those who want to destabilize your country and return it to an Islamo-Fascist state, infiltrated the NATO base and desecrated copies of your holy book. According to the rules of your religion, and the Geneva Convention, we are and/or will burn those items.”
Instead, our Commander-in-Chief decided that once again appeasement, even when it contradicts the facts and undermines our mission, was the best course of action.
President Barack Obama apologized.
Mr. President, I understand that in your world view appeasement, and asking for forgiveness for our Imperialist American ways is the path to a better world, a world in which we recognize, understand and celebrate our differences as a base upon which to build peaceful co-existence.
That is a wonderful way to run a kindergarten, but in the grown up world, there are a few realities that must be understood. Among them is the simple concept that not everyone wants peace, particularly peace with the U.S. There are people on this planet who hate us, simply because of who we are and what we represent.
There are people on this planet who view those who espouseappeasement in a war zone as weak. The enemy we are fighting in Afghanistan are among that group, but surely, the President of the United States of America does not need a middle-aged, middle class, suburban housewife to tell him that.
I’m equally sure you are aware our very existence is anathema to these Muslim extremists. There is no room in their credo for choice. Their prophet says “Submit”. America was founded on the principal of choice. We do not submit.
Mr. President, rather than once again bowing down to the leader of another nation, you should have stood tall and demanded that Mr. Kharzai publicly denounce those who claim to be Muslim, yet desecrate their holy book. You should have demanded that Muslim scholars around the world speak out against the desecration of their holy book by Muslims, their supposed brothers in faith who are bastardizing and twisting the message of peace they say their religion is truly about.
Mr. President, every time you apologize to our enemies, people who declare themselves enemies of America; every time you appease them, you forget the most basic credo of ours, the concept of choice on which our Nation was founded; the ideals for which American sons and daughters still fight, bleed and die. Attempting to appease this enemy tells them that you, and we as Americans by extension, are weak, according to their world view. In effect, you give aid and comfort to our enemy.
Mr. President, there are American families that are mourning their sons today as a direct result of this path to appeasement. I admit it is not fair to lay the sole blame for their deaths at your feet. I, as well as all thinking Americans understand that our enemies will seize any pretext to kill us. We know all too well that lacking a pretext, real or imagined, they have and will continue to try to kill us in any way they can. I, as well as countless other Americans ask that you simply stop giving them pretext.