On Symbols

Ibrahim Abusharif, the editor of Starlatch Press, contributes a thoughtful column to the Christian Science Monitor about the recent reports of desecration of the Qur’an at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After talking about what improper handling by American soldiers of Islam’s holy book means to Muslims, he also reminds us that Muslims themselves abuse their own symbols, as we have witnessed in the Nicholas Berg case.

Those who doubt the staying power of symbols and religion may want to reconsider their stand.

It is a striking reality that human sensitivity to symbols has survived, despite the postmodern flattening of the world and its aggression against belief in the unseen. But while humans have God-given emotional accouterments naturally sensitive to such things as desecration, we also have been given the intellect that keeps that sensitivity in check and within the realm of moderation.

Just as we know that this episode of the desecration of the Koran is not reflective of the ethos of religious tolerance among Americans, we must also learn never to attach to Islam – either the religion or the civilization – the acts of vigilante Muslims who unwittingly desecrate the name of Islam and, perhaps, inspire others to desecrate their book.

Read the full column here.


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