The Quran is more than just a book to Muslims. Some Americans are learning that amid reports and confirmation that the holy book of Islam was desecrated at a prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Pentagon conceded June 3 that guards at the American base mistreated the book – including inadvertently urinating on it – a few weeks after the Defense Department denied a Newsweek story claiming Qurans were flushed in toilets. The magazine retracted that story, but riots around the Muslim world, fanned by the charges, left 14 people dead. That sense of outrage reflects the reverence bestowed on the book, also known as the Noble Quran, the Glorious Quran or Holy Quran.
The intensity of feeling some Muslims have for the physical book is different than the regard many Christians have for the Bible. Though Christians revere the Bible’s message, they often separate the teaching from the object. Many Muslims don’t make that distinction, said Imam Muhammad El Farooqui of the Islamic Center of Tucson. The book is deemed the absolute word of God, and Muslims are “preservers” of that word, El Farooqui said. “When we read the Quran, we are revealing the word, and we are the preservers until the last day,” he said. (MORE)