Yesterday (Friday, 4/1/2011), after Friday prayers, some Muslims in Afghanistan gathered to protest the burning of a Qur’an by the members of Pastor Terry Jones’ church in Gainesville, Florida (USA). Apparently, according to the news article, some extremists infiltrated the crowd and stirred them up to violent anger – with the result that they marched to the United Nations compound and wound up killing some of the U. N. workers. I’m sure they were already angry, but apparently it was a few extremists who managed to stir up the violence. Perhaps it was only the instigators who committed the violent acts; I don’t know about that.
At any rate, whoever did the killing acted contrary to the laws of God and men and must be flatly condemned. Whether they were Taliban, Al Qaeda, Israeli Mossad or CIA disguised as members of the Taliban, or ordinary Afghan citizens, they need to be made to face the full force of the law.
Muslim individuals and organizations have issued public condemnations of the killings as soon as they heard about them – for instance the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in the U. S. A., and Imam Feisal Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan.
One can understand Muslim anger at the disrespect shown for the Holy Qur’an – though many Muslims just shake their heads in amused wonder at the foolishness and idiocy of these people who think they’re honoring God by mocking and burning the Qur’an. They know that those ignorant, confused, and bigoted people are just harming their own souls while doing “Allah” and the Muslim believers no harm at all. Nevertheless, humanly speaking, we can understand the anger of some Muslims. God Himself has instructed them (in the Qur’an) that they are not to revile the objects of reverence or worship even of idolaters: Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did (6:108, Yusuf Ali). God knows that it is natural to respond in offended anger when someone mocks the things you hold dear. Therefore He tells His followers that they themselves should not mock other people’s revered things – no matter how foolish and offensive they may be to you. This is good advice for anyone to follow. (Perhaps Terry Jones and his congregation would do well to follow the Qur’an’s advice, rather than burn that book! 🙂 ).
However ‘righteous anger’ is no excuse to resort to violence. The Qur’an itself tells us what we should do when we become angry at someone: [7:199] MAKE due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right; and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant. [7:200] And if it should happen that a prompting from Satan stirs thee up [to blind anger], seek refuge with God: behold, He is all-hearing, all-knowing. [7:201] Verily, they who are conscious of God bethink themselves [of Him] whenever any dark suggestion from Satan touches them – whereupon, lo! they begin to see [things] clearly, [7:202] even though their [godless] brethren would [like to] draw them into error: and then they cannot fail [to do what is right] (Muhammad Asad). Those who truly fear God should turn to Him, and turn away from the godless ‘extremists’ who only lead them astray from the right path. Those who committed acts of violence in their ‘righteous indignation’ have failed to follow the guidance of God given to them in the Qur’an, and have wound up harming their own souls as well as the physical harm they did to others.
All true Muslims (that is, people who are devoted or submissive to God and find peace in knowing Him) will be revolted by the murder committed by those citizens of Afghanistan (if that’s who the murderers were); and if there are any who are tempted to actually congratulate those murderers for their ‘zeal for God’, may God wake you up from your temporary (hopefully) insanity, and put your feet once again on the right path of forgiveness, mercy, and peace.