Will Rev. Jones burn Korans? For the safety of American troops fighting in Afghanistan and other Americans abroad, I hope not. But even if he backs down, this should serve as a watershed moment when all who value Western ideals and champion freedom of expression come to terms with the fact that Bin Laden has hijacked these very truths which we hold to be self-evident. And then we must fight to reclaim those truths with as much conviction and courage as our forefathers did when they fought to first realize them.
Where does are greatest hope lie? In the hands of Muslims who believe in a peaceful Islam, particularly in the hands of Sajjad Karim, a member of British Parliament who made the following appeal not to Rev. Jones, but to fellow Muslims:
...the Quran burning “is the act of one man and his followers alone. His actions should not be identified with the West or Christianity. Muslims globally must know that, through this Quran burning, this man will achieve nothing. He has been isolated in his country and his religion. It is only through a reaction that any perverse sense of achievement can be earned.”
The hijacking of freedom of expression is real. And it’s also very cunning at disguising itself as benign with appeals for religious tolerance, when in reality it’s a dangerous pardon of accountability granted to one of the largest, deadliest segments of the world population. A solution becoming part of a global crisis.
Van Gogh was silenced to death. Ali is still in exile, kicked out of the country that promised her sanctuary. Cartoonists who depict Mohammed in newspapers or run an episode of him in a bear suit on South Park are marked for death. And now the world is in peril because one publicity-seeking man and a handful of followers announced they’re going to burn a few Korans? And if he doesn’t, it’s only a matter of time before some other kook follows through for him.
Out of fear, we turn a blind eye to honor killings and the subjugation and exploitation of women in Muslim countries. “If we say Islam is a peaceful religion, we make it so” seems to be the prevailing strategy for peace throughout the West. Why don’t we clap for Tinker Bell while we’re at it.
Western Muslims must be the change. They must promote peace and speak out against the violence and injustices of those Muslims who have hijacked their religion. We need a Muslim hero in the name of freedom, not another horny martyr in the name of Allah.