Dove World Outreach Center, a fundamentalist Christian church based out of Gainsville, Florida, is preparing to burn copies of the Qu’ran on Sept. 11 in what they call “International Burn a Quran Day.” The church has had a sign up since last year saying “Islam Is Of The Devil” and the head Pastor Terry D. Jones wrote a book of the same name.
As a result, an outcry has ensued, with high-ranking officials weighing in, the latest being Attorney General Eric Holder calling the move, “idiotic and dangerous.” Top commanders General David Petraeus and Lieutenant General William Caldwell have both condemned the church’s actions as jeopardizing the “mission” in Afghanistan.
In other words, the people who are currently killing Muslims are condemning those who want to destroy Islam for making it difficult for the people to do their killing. Taken together, the whole affair is a theatre of the bizarre. It’s indicative of not only the current state of affairs, but also the basic moral fabric of our political culture, where discussion revolves not around whether the occupation of Afghanistan is morally wrong, but how best to go about the business of occupying them (and keeping them in line.)
There is a big difference, of course, between the Dove people and the U.S. occupation. The Dove Center has an eliminationist program against Islam and Muslims, fueled by a bigoted fundamentalist ideology, the logical conclusion of which would be – if put in place – genocide. Among the 10 reasons to burn the Qu’ran, according to Dove:
“Islamic Law is totalitarian in nature.”
“Islam is not compatible with democracy and human rights.”
“Islam is a weapon of Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism. Wherever Islam has or gains political power, Christians, Jews and all non-Moslems receive persecution, discrimination, are forced to convert. There are massacres and churches, synagogues, temples and other places of worship are destroyed.”
Never mind the hypocrisy that lays blame exclusively on Islam for practices all religions have been guilty of at one point or another, (not religion itself, mind you, but the abuse of it for earthly gain) – if a religion is seen as colonial, totalitarian and destructive, the only logical way to deal with it is through genocide. (Interestingly, and without irony, the Center says in reason number 2: “The Koran does not have an eternal origin. It is not recorded in heaven. The Almighty God, Creator of the World, is NOT it’s source.” Reason number 6: “It is irrational.”)
The occupation of Afghanistan isn’t genocidal, and the purpose of it isn’t to convert Afghans. It’s purpose is to expand American hegemony in that part of the world, and through the course of the occupation, thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed. This is what Petraeus and Caldwell oversee while condemning Dove Outreach for putting troops in danger, when it’s the occupation that’s doing that. Since 2001, 2071 soldiers have been killed, and the terror attacks at Ft. Hood, the attempted Christmas Day airliner attack and the attempted Times Square bombing all were in opposition to the occupation and were well before the Dove Center’s announced Qu’ran burning.
As lame and fucked up as what the Dove Center is going to do, the Obama administration’s exploitation of their stunt to present their occupation of a country as occupying the moral high ground is far worse. Dove will only have burnt paper on their hands, while Obama’s hands are stained in Afghani blood.