I am not Captain Beatty
Last week, an acquaintance asked me whether I wanted to join him in burning a Quran on Sept. 11 to show opposition to Islam and what its fundamentalist members did in 2001. This got me thinking about one of my favorite books. Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” is a book about a society where book burning is a norm. It may also cross your mind that there has been a lot of controversy over a Florida pastor’s attempts to have a Quran bonfire.
I declined the invitation. I find it curious that people would want to burn the Quran, whether they agree with Islam, disagree with it or are simply hateful in light of Sept. 11. Whatever the reason, the decision to burn a Quran is wrong. It is also curiously ironic. Whether one considers the Quran to be holy or thinks of it as a manual for violence (and I believe it is neither), would it not be more beneficial to keep it around?
If you absolutely despise the Quran and fear Islam, it seems better to have evidence to support your hate. Why burn away the supporting documentation for your anti-Islamic stance? If, conversely, the Quran is your holy book, you would not burn it, as you clearly hold it in high esteem.
Burning books in general, and Qurans in particular, is extremely ironic. The Islamic conquest of Egypt in 642 was marked by a gigantic conflagration of what was then the largest archive of human knowledge: the Library of Alexandria. Burning a book out of opposition to Islam, whether it be the Quran or a copy of Conrad Hilton’s “Be My Guest,” seems to be a rather curious act to partake in that only serves to perpetuate an archaic behavior you vehemently oppose, no?
I do not care what people do with books. We have a First Amendment right to burn books, safety issues aside. Burning books for censorship or political reasons, however, is something I will never partake in. It is simply a purely illogical activity. Whether the book be the Quran, Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” or “Goodnight Moon,” throwing it upon a pyre is repugnant to me.