Monday, August 30, 2010

Burn a Koran Day

Hitch-22 makes for a useful springboard. Heading the chapter on Salman Rushdie:

"Where books are burned, people will next be burned."
- Heinrich Heine, on the burning of the Koran by the Inquisition, in his Almansor [1821]

Let's hope not.

A couple points: obviously some fringe group in Florida (that even other churches are criticizing) does not have the cultural standing of the Inquisition. Equally apparent is this group's right to burn Korans, as much as Imam Rauf has to build his Cordoba community center a couple blocks from Ground Zero.

A few years ago a Koran book burning would have been pretty shocking, but I don't think it would have found much traction. As it is, the event is riding a tide of anti-Islam hysteria cultivated by cynical opportunists capitalizing on a weak economy in an election year. Sarah Palin won't be taking part in Burn a Koran Day, but only because she disagrees with the tactics; the sentiment--"9/11: We Will Never forget (that all Muslims are responsible)"-- is exactly the same. People need to be calling her and her ilk on this, and putting collective guilt and punishment outside the realm of public discourse, where it belongs.

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