“Muslim militants planning attacks in Saudi Arabia’s holiest city, Mecca, booby-trapped copies of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, to kill and maim pilgrims, a leading Saudi-owned newspaper has reported.” This from Reuters.
It’s ironic that they would even consider doing such a thing, especially in light of the outrage in Iraq over an American soldier who — no doubt unaware of the implications of what he was doing — threw a Qur’an to the ground during a search.
But I doubt that these militants were unaware, or even that they were unbelievers who were callously indifferent to the way the Muslim sacred book is treated — although this is no doubt what the Saudis are hoping people will think. Perhaps they saw wiring the Qur’an as a good way to “instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers,” as per this verse of their explosive book: “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): ‘I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them'” (Sura 8:12).
If this report is true, these militants almost certainly didn’t see wiring the Qur’an with explosives as a heinous desecration — because such groups regard such verses and many others like it with the utmost seriousness. They probably considered themselves to be acting in accord with its dictates.
Yes, there are violent passages in the Bible, too. Yes, people of all religions have done terrible things. None of those kinds of objections gets to the heart of the matter: terrorists are using the Qur’an today, not the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita or the Book of Mormon, to justify violence and to convince others that they should act violently or approve of violence.
Yet you can go to the site of any prominent American Muslim advocacy group, and you will see no hint of this. Insofar as Muslim moderates (both those that are genuine and those that are merely self-proclaimed) continue to ignore such passages or to deny that they even exist in the Qur’an, and to ignore or deny the fact that radical Muslims can and do easily exploit them to justify their actions, they have nothing to say to these radicals to rein them in. They simply aren’t mounting a serious response to the enormous challenge of radicalism within their own community.