The statement by interfaith partners of Michigan condemning the desecration of the Holy Quran at the Guantanamo prison was an honorable response to those shameful incidents. Besides distressing Muslims and damaging the image of our country, disrespecting the Quran was a gross insult to all Abrahamic traditions. The U.S. military has confirmed five cases in which the Islamic holy book was kicked, stepped on and soaked. Desecrating the Quran is an attempt to create conflict between Muslims and Christians where there is none. The eminent Catholic theologian Hans Küng challenges us “to stop thinking in terms of alternatives, of Jesus or Muhammad, and to think instead … of Jesus and Muhammad … Muhammad himself acts as a witness to Jesus.” While the name of the Prophet Muhammad is mentioned only five times in the Quran, Abraham, Moses and Jesus are mentioned hundreds of times.

One of the longest chapters of the Quran is dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus. For Muslims, the Quran is the pure word of God in writing, just as Jesus is the incarnate word of God. Both were sent to humanity with the same mission: “raising humanity from the depths of evil and ignorance.” The Quran is filled with words of wisdom, appreciated by all people of understanding. The main subject of the Holy Quran is the glorification of the God of Abraham. To dishonor this book is to dishonor the Divine. The Quran is the final message from our caring Creator. It teaches lessons of faith, family values, caring for orphans, feeding the poor, helping the suffering, removing racism and oppression from society and bringing the joy of justice and freedom to the people of God. How painful that instead of reading, understanding and practicing Quran, some people at Guantanamo put God’s gift under their feet and showed the greatest disrespect for it.

Muslims can’t even touch the text of the Quran without cleansing themselves. The White House tried to minimize the blasphemy. In one instance, the military said, “The guard urinated near an air vent and the wind blew his urine through the vent.” Yeah, right. Let’s praise U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, for his courage and leadership for introducing a resolution condemning bigotry and religious intolerance. Let’s welcome Sen. Joseph Biden’s initiative asking for the formation of an independent commission to be sent to Guantanamo. The Muslim and Arab communities in Detroit have been trying very hard to build bridges of friendship, cooperation and understanding between the United States and the Muslim world. Abusing the Quran hurts their sincere efforts. Our government can’t succeed in its call for democracy and human rights abroad if it can’t practice what it preaches inside its own territories. (MORE)


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