As if there aren’t enough controversies involving Islam and Muslims these days, a church in Florida, known as Dove World Outreach, has decided to commemorate the upcoming 9-11 anniversary by hosting “Burn the Quran Day.” Muslims are cautioned not to overreact by coming out on streets, burning the American flag in retaliation or engaging in other acts of violence, as that would only play into the hands of our enemies. Muslims need to remember that burning Quran is not a desecration but an acceptable means in Islam to dispose it. Even though the motives of the church are hateful and ignominious, if not misdirected, Muslim anger will serve no other purpose than to encourage the loony fringe in this country to carry out greater assaults against Islam and Muslims. It should also be noted that this announcement by the church has been widely condemned in Christian and other discussion blogs, even by some social Conservatives who are generally critical of Islam and Muslims.
Quran is God’s message to the entire world, not just to Muslims. If there are Christians who are hell-bent on burning it rather than reading it to appreciate its passages praising Jesus and Mary, they would be guilty of burning some of the sublime teachings that they share with Muslims and Jews. They can burn the paper that the message is written on but that message is now everywhere: on the Internet, on radio, and mostly in our hearts.
We Muslims must learn that defending faith is important, but ‘how’ we defend is even more important. Ultimately our goal should always be to win hearts and minds, not ‘even the score’ with violent protests or rants of our own. For the past 1400 years or so, Muslims have endured taunts and far worse things from their enemies. When we remained steadfast and kept our dignity and high moral standards, Islam grew. When we stooped to their level, we lost. Christians have never turned the other cheek, but we must, not because we are weak but we must obey the Quran when it says a number of times, “Repel evil with good.”