Koran Burning: How It Happened and Avoidable Errors

Pakistani students shout slogans during a protest rally against Quran burning in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar area on February 22, 2012. Ahmad Sidique, Xinhua-Zuma Press/MCT

With so many U.S. troops still serving in Afghanistan, it is important for everyone to understand the cultural differences between the two countries.

I had a WWII veteran ask me why U.S. Forces didn’t explain that in the U.S. burning is an accepted way of disposing of a damaged U.S. flag and it’s not a sign of disrespect.But that’s still an American tradition that is not acceptable for a damaged Koran.

Disposing of a Damaged Koran

The New York Times article, “Chain of Avoidable Errors Cited in Koran Burning,” describes two accepted ways to handle an old or damaged Koran:

  • Wrap it in a clean cloth and bury it in holy ground where people don’t walk.
  • Wrap it and place it in the sea or river or flowing water.

Steps that Led to the Burning

The Times article is worth a read to better understand the several decisions and events that led to the burning and the missed opportunities that could have stopped the event before it started.

  • Suspicion that detainees were passing notes, plotting by writing in the margins of library books.
  • Two Afghan-American interpreters given the task to sort out all library books with handwriting deemed a security risk.
  • 1,652 books are pulled, set aside including some Korans, religious texts
  • Deemed “sensitive” material, there’s too much to store, so, it’s decided to burn the material. But, established procedures including holding onto the materials for a while were not followed.
  • Afghan soldiers who saw the religious books piled in boxes notified their commander who went to his U.S. counterpart, but the truck had left for the incinerator before they could investigate.
  • An Afghan laborer at the incinerator saw the books as they were being loaded into the incinerator and sounded the alarm.

The Times reports that the Koran burning incident is being investigated by a joint commission of U.S. and Afghan military officers, a formal United States military inquiry and the Ulema Council, a group of Afghan religious leaders.

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2 Responses

  1. So…this still gives them reason to riot and to kill others not involved? Ask them what should be done to their compatriots who desecrated the Korans in the first place.
    The USA it seems has to apologize for every little infraction. Yet where are their apologies for their actions against us?

  2. I agree with Harold but what I don’t understand is that old line “with friends like that, who needs enemies?” Are we there to HELP them with their issues? If they came to HELP us and they “desecrated” our Christian Bible, would we shoot their soldiers and protest!! I don’t think so! In fact, I tend to believe, as in Iraq, Muslims believe that their Koran is the ONLY truth and the only TRUE friend is a fellow believer! Anyone less (heretic) must be terminated….The Christian Bible does not terminate the non-believer! Their own President doesn’t even help the cause other then to tell everyone “cool down!” Not very reassuring. Definitely know we shouldn’t apologize! This is war! We didn’t kill anyone w/o cause! Seems like the Koran encourages the believer to be the “judge and jury” of what he perceives of “injustice!” What a world we live in. Seems to me, am I wrong to think that Muslims feel their beliefs are a matter of life and death? I feel for our kids growing up in this changed world. Is this what our “Commander in Chief” says our change would be?

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