"To Muslims, and especially to Afghans, religion is much higher a concern than civilian or human casualties." This is very hard for non-Muslims to understand, even those who are devoutly religious. After all, isn't each human being valuable as a work of the Creator and irreplaceable as an individual, while copies of a book that exists in plentiful copies are obviously more expendable? That's obvious, but it depends upon the assumption that human life is valuable in the first place, while in the Islamic schema, Allah creates some people only to torture them in hellfire (cf. Qur'an 32:13) and directs believers to murder those who don't believe in him (cf. Qur'an 2:190-193; 4:89; 9:5). Clearly human life is not as important in Islam as it is in Judaism and Christianity, in which each person is a unique being made in the image of God.
"In Reactions to Two Incidents, a U.S.-Afghan Disconnect," by Rod Nordland for the New York Times, March 14 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
KABUL, Afghanistan — The mullah was astounded and a little angered to be asked why the accidental burning of Korans last month could provoke violence nationwide, while an intentional mass murder that included nine children last Sunday did not.
“How can you compare the dishonoring of the Holy Koran with the martyrdom of innocent civilians?” said an incredulous Mullah Khaliq Dad, a member of the council of religious leaders who investigated the Koran burnings. “The whole goal of our life is religion.”
That many Americans are just as surprised that what appears to be the massacre of 16 people at the hands of an American soldier has not led to mass protests or revenge killings speaks volumes about a fundamental disconnect with their Afghan partners, one that has undermined a longstanding objective to win the hearts and minds of the population. After more than 10 years, many deaths and billions of dollars invested, Americans still fail to grasp the Afghans’ basic values. Faith is paramount and a death can be compensated with blood money.
“To Muslims, and especially to Afghans, religion is much higher a concern than civilian or human casualties,” said Hafez Abdul Qayoom, a member of Afghanistan’s highest clerical body, the Ulema Council. “When something happens to their religion, they are much more sensitive and have much stronger reaction to it.”...