Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution takes a break from Markets in Everything to bring Excuses for Everything. He makes a point I’ve seen elsewhere that I don’t think means as much as he reads into it. The point basically is that Koran abuse is abuse of God himself.
Rarely is it explained just how important the Koran is to Islam. As I understand it, the Koran itself is seen as holy, the closest to an extension of God that we have on earth. No, Muhammed is not parallel to Jesus, but in some regards the Koran is. That is one reason why it is so important to learn the book in Arabic.
That’s all well and good, but I think the same could very well be said for the way many devout Christians feel about crucifixes. Interestingly I have yet to read a Christian fatwah widely accepted by mainstream Christians calling for the execution of Robert Mapplethorpe. Extremist Christians do, of course, make such statements, but they are disavowed by the vast, vast majority of Christian believers. (And, of course, some the liberals would equate cutting federal funding for such “art” with beheading, but on this as many things the liberal media is off its rocker.)
Also, for what it’s worth, Christian theology DOES believe exactly the same thing regarding the Bible. In fact, while the Koran may not be equated to Mohammed, the Bible is equated to Jesus.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Of course, that doesn’t require a literal interpretation that Jesus is the Bible, but the fact that Christians often refer to the Bible as the Word shouldn’t be lost. And furthermore, in spite of that, Christians would not be justified in rioting in the United States if Afghan Moslems flushed the Bible.
These riots, of course, happened in the same country where Moslem radicals destroyed stone images of Buddha. Interestingly the Dalai Lama did not call for mass rioting.
Bottom line, Moslems who riot and kill each other because of a rumor that someone flushed a Koran are engaging in nothing but hooliganism, no matter their motivation. Excusing their behavior because the Koran is more than a book, is no different than excusing any other murderer because he had a troubled childhood or he ate too many twinkies or he smoked too much crack. There are certain things that justify the use of force and flushing a book, a crucifix or the Eucharist do not qualify in civilized society.