At first, I was filled with anger in response to the Florida Pastor who plans on having a Koran Bonfire to commemorate the terrorist attack of 9/11 on the World Trade center. Despite what this pastor believes it will do nothing more than fuel the flames hatred, misunderstanding, fear, oppression...and isolating, separating humanity into us and them...those we like, those we dislike. This act greatly diminishes the sacredness of "all" humanity. I have shared my story here before, of my Islamic friend Najeeb whose community I lived in for a year.
It is one thing to speak out against terrorism...but burn, destroy the sacred story of faith community in the context of the global village is itself an act of terrorism.
It uses fear and threatens to intimidate or coerce for political/religious purposes. To blame what happened on 9/11 on the Koran would be incredibly simplistic. It was done by a small radical fundamentalist element of the Islamic faith. That have twisted, distorted and manipulated sacred texts for the own purpose out of context. It is no difference than the long list of atrocities committed by Christians using the Bible for centuries.
Maybe the Florida pastor should read the list and meditate on its content for a while. There is bad element with in the Islamic faith...but our hands are not clean either. But the good news is, it is not the dominant element with in either faith. The majority that seek to find common ground, to share stories of compassion, hospitality, grace, mercy and God's abundant love need to be more vocal. I love this story of St Francis during the crusades. We need to get to know one another, interfaith co-op's and partnerships with our communities. We need to have meals with one another...enjoy the flavours and sounds of each other's cultures.
I can not find anywhere in the gospels where Jesus engaged in another faith in this manner. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well certainly blows our minds as the what the redemptive imagination of what interfaith conversation might look like.
Anyways, enough said. I suggest rather than burn a copy of the Koran, buy one and read it. Or if your going to burn one...burn a copy of the Bible at the same time. We've certainly done enough evil with it in the name of God.
There is a nice interview with Carol Off of CBC's " As It Happens " talking to another Gainesville Florida pastor, Larry Reimer, about Pastor Terry Jones plan to burn the Koran. It's nice to hear progressive voices of faith and compassion in the midst of the craziness. (Listen to Part Two)