"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." - Heinrich Heine
For those of you who aren't already aware, a fanatic named Terry Jones is planning an "International Burn a Koran Day" on September 11th. While I support Mr. Jones' Constitutional right to engage in a symbolic act of protest - the same way I'd support someone who wanted to burn an American Flag to make a point - I think he's a loon, and I think that this whole circus is far less about "protesting a religion of the devil," and far more about making Terry Jones momentarily (in)famous.
Inspired by Jones and by the misguided souls who plan to use the anniversary of a national tragedy to indulge in good ol' fashioned, baseless hatred, I'd planned on taking a trip down to the Ground Zero area and standing up for religious freedom there. But here's the problem with that: I'm just adding another body to a mass of people who'll be there with their own agendas and their own lunacies. What would I actually do once I was there? I'd be making a statement with my presence, but I'm increasingly unsure whether that statement would count for as much as it might if I took another approach.
So, instead of delving, probably ineffectively, into the madness sure to be all too prevalent down there - instead of legitimizing, in any way, the protest against the Cordoba House that is scheduled for that afternoon - I'm going to do something that will have a concrete (albeit small), immediate impact: I'm going to BUY a Koran on Saturday.
And I'd like you to buy one as well.
I'd like you to walk into a bookstore and purchase a Koran, and as you do so, I'd like you to say that you're buying it because you're a fan of religious freedom - that you're buying it to replace the copies burned by Terry Jones.
But that's not all. I'd also like you to spread the word. I'd like the people that you know, the people that you write for, The People in general, to know what you're doing and why. I want you to mobilize your friends, and get them to buy a Koran as well. It doesn't need to be nice, or expensive, or new. What matters - what always matters and will always matter - is finding a way to express, to ourselves and to those around us, an affirmation of basic humanity and decency. There will always be those for whom it is a pleasure to burn, as Ray Bradbury once taught us. Let there also always be those for whom it is a pleasure to preserve.
This isn't just about Islam, this is about every persecuted religious group: Quakers, Jews, Catholics, and on and on anon. For every religion there has been a group eager to burn them - symbolically or otherwise. And in every age there have always been those willing to oppose them in word and in deed.
Be one of those people. Join the Buy A Koran Facebook page. Send out a Tweet/email to those you know. Reach out by phone or in person and say to one another "there is power in small, individual acts." Be able to look your future grandchildren in the eye and tell them that you have always supported religious liberty when they ask you about the bigotry of these events.
This Saturday, let's buy more than they burn.
Spread the word.
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." - 1 John 4:8
"We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them." - The Koran (3:84 AYA)