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A Nation divided

A good number of people on this side of the Atlantic like to sport jests directed especially towards those on that other side.

The jibes, although sometimes cliche or overused range from debunking the fibs in the zealous mumblings of certain American Evangelists, about the ‘world coming to an end on such and such a date’, and ‘personal discussions with God’, to those on stereotypical cowboy mentality of “I do what is right only after I’ve exhausted all the wrong options”.

And if like me you enjoy both Jazz and Jay-z‘s music,  then it is probable that you will also find the US elections as a sort of global entertainment circus, during which we are guaranteed to see a pleasurable share of dog eat dog affray, as if it were some glorified “big brotheresque” Tv show than the traditional and methodical volition of an individual who would eventually hold the office of the most powerful politician on the planet.
Any misadventure by anyone unscrupulous enough to command even the slightest media interest only goes to flame the tempting misconception that too many Americans, however high their social standing are, simply put, plain mad. After all, they are the ones who screwed up Vietnam, and Korea, and Nagasaki, and refused to give up Slavery for centuries even after pretty much everyone else had come to their right senses and made some effort to end the damn thing. What’s so surprising about Afghanistan, or Iraq…?

witch burning

But when these discussions concern the topic of religion, suddenly there is often a real case to be heard. And the recent controversy on this ‘gun wielding’ cowboy who wanted to burn copies of the Quran does just that.

Now, When he left home this morning, he whose name is not to be uttered was not a Muslim, and it is highly unlikely that by the time he enters through the squeaky turquoise doors downstairs, he will be sporting a Taqiyah and that he would have changed his name to Abu Suleiman-Hussein.

Its just not happening.

Neither is this accidental atheist of a canine likely to convert, should dogs some day be allowed to have a religion. But that’s purely tykely preference than discriminatory tendency stemming out of groundless suspicion and sheer ignorance.

Yet, I can’t help but feel intensely outraged by this scandal. Firstly, a couple of weeks back, I read this article, which was outrageous enough, to say the least, and considering the alleged hopelessly ignorant comments made by the various well known personalities.  Now, a few weeks later, the culprit finally shows up confirming he was indeed serious, and truly intends to burn copies of Islam‘s sacred text. He then provisionally changes his mind  after speaking to the ‘US Defense secretary‘, and flagging an ultimatum, claims instead that he will negotiate a “deal” regarding the changing of the location of the planned Islamic Centre, that was going to be built close to Ground Zero? How much more fictitious can all this possibly get? To me, it sounds more like something straight out of an old Kung Fu film, the likes of Jackie Chan‘s Drunken Master.

But wait a minute. ‘Copies’ of the Quran. How many copies are we talking about here,  and more importantly where exactly was he going to get these copies?

Would he have made some, perhaps from an original he already has? Or would he have sent someone else to go and buy them for him? Also, is he operating alone or together with a much larger group of people than his congregation of 50…? Are there other people who we don’t yet know about beneath the surface.  I’m not too sure I understand all the dynamics here, but something just doesn’t add up. Its even more disturbing that his trip to New York includes some Imam, who is the president of an Islamic Society… who it seems will ‘escort’ him?

Think about it,  if some cowboy popped up your Church’s, Shul’s or Temple’s bookstore and asked: ” I’d like 20 copies of Gideons International new testament (or the Torah, or some other religious text),  wanna go burn them!”

Would you liberally give it to them? And supposing you refused to sell them the copies, which by all means you couldn’t be blamed for doing, would you then ask your institution’s leader to mediate, to the point where he would be prepared to escort the cowboy on some dubious pseudo-pilgrimage, a thousand miles away?

Also, how does the US Secretary of Defense get involved in all this. Doesn’t he have anything better to do, like cleaning up his act in Iraq ? Isn’t there an obscure piece of legislation hidden in some corner of the US constitution, which Federal prosecutors could have pulled out to disciple the so called pastor out of his wantonly ways,  especially since it appears that his own Bible seems to be failing him?

Frau Schroeder is not convinced by this publicity stunt, which she thinks probably benefits almost all parties involved in equal measure. In her opinion, the media needs to ignore him, the Imams should go back to teaching and leading prayers at their mosques, and the Pastor probably needs to return to Bible school more than anything else, atleast for  the sake of his congregation – if he even went to one – and re-learn his precepts, one of the most important of which reads: ” He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth” Is 42.2-3

And Monsieur Lellouche has got a thought. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the reaction of the the Islamic world, especially the leaders of a country such as Iran, if an Islamist fundamentalist decided he was going to burn copies of the Bible, or the Torah on the anniversary of, say, Saddam’s execution?

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