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Monday, May 19, 2008

Misplaced Priorities

I recall in Elementary School when I accidentally dropped my best friend's Torah. He insisted that I kiss it before giving it to him. I had no clue at the time why a book was the object of so much emotion since I had dropped a bible any number of times, and had merely picked it up and dusted it off.

Today I read that a US soldier used a Quran for target practice in Iraq. Not one of the brightest moves and certainly not an accident as he attempted to explain. However, upon reading about the "outrage" by certain members of the Iraqi political establishment such as:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's most powerful Sunni Arab political party on Monday said a U.S. soldier's desecration of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, requires the "severest of punishments," not just an apology and a military reassignment.

One must wonder what kind of priorities these fellows have. In a country in which people have been killed for being in the wrong sect, I would think that there are far more important problems facing Iraqis than the dumb actions of a US Soldier. How about "maximum punishment" for them? And how about an effective government? Yes? Would that be important too? What of those corrupt government officials? How about maximum punishment for them too?

The one thing that I thought I understood about Islam was it's conscious avoidance of elevating persons and objects to deification if you will. The Quran is not important because of the paper it is written on, or even the language in which it is presented. What makes the Quran important is the message. Destroy the paper and the message still lives. And since the message is the most important thing, then it would seem logical to be more outraged when that message is desecrated.

But I guess political theater is far more popular.

The Iraqi Islamic Party, the movement of Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, condemned what it said was a "blatant assault on the sanctities of Muslims all over the world."