Another sidelight to the Qur’an desecration stories. From CNSNews.com, with thanks to DB:
“The Muslims respect the Koran far more than Christians respect the Bible,” says Danny Nalliah, a Sri Lankan-born evangelical pastor now based in Australia.
During the 1990s, Nalliah spent two years in Saudi Arabia, where he was deeply involved with the underground church.
“It’s a very well-known fact that if you have a Bible at customs when you enter the airport, and if they find the Bible, that the Bible is taken and put in the shredder,” he said in an interview this week.
“If you have more than one Bible you will be taken into custody, and if you have a quantity of Bibles you will be given 70 lashes for sure – you could even be executed.”
Nalliah had not himself seen a Bible being shredded but said the practice was widely acknowledged among Christians in the kingdom.
Abuse of Christians and their symbols was not restricted to the destruction of Bibles, he added.
A friend of his, a fellow Christian in Saudi Arabia, told him of witnessing a particularly unpleasant incident involving a Catholic nun.
The man had been in the transit lounge at the airport in Jeddah – the gateway to Mecca, used by millions of Hajj pilgrims each year – when a nun arrived at the customs desk.
“Some fool [travel agent] had put her on a transit flight in Jeddah. You don’t do that to a Catholic nun, because she’s going to be tormented.”
“They opened her bag, went through her prayer book, put the prayer book through the shredder … took the crucifix off her neck and smashed it, tormented her for many minutes.”
Eventually another Muslim official objected to their conduct, came across and “rescued” her, pointing out to the customs officials that she was not entering the country but only in transit and would be leaving on the next plane.
Briefed beforehand about the risks, Nalliah said he did not carry a Bible when he arrived in the kingdom in 1995.
Subsequently, however, he took possession of hundreds of Bibles that had been smuggled into Saudi Arabia to be used by believers there.
Nalliah said he had a close call one morning when armed members of the notorious Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice – the religious police, or muttawa – hammered at his front door at 1 a.m.
With 400 smuggled Bibles “sitting on the dining room table,” he believed his life to be in serious danger. “That was a crime equal to rape, murder, armed robbery, and in Saudi Arabia you get the same punishment,” he said – the death penalty.
Nalliah said he had prayed earnestly and, in what he could only describe as a miracle, the men left without entering his home….
According to author and Islam scholar Robert Spencer, “a devout Muslim might very well mistreat a Bible, because traditional Islamic theology regards it as a corrupted and unreliable version of the genuine revelations that were given to Moses, Jesus, and other Prophets.”
Spencer noted that in sura 9:30 the Koran says those who believe Jesus is the Son of God are under Allah’s curse.
“Throughout history, most Muslim theologians have held that the New Testament has been tampered with since it teaches that Jesus is the Son of God.”