Provocation? Let them burn the Qur'an!
It must have been a small-town priest's wildest dream come true when his marketing ploy to raise the importance of his obscure and dwindling parish by attacking the common Muslim foe worked so well that all the leading politicians of the world came out in defence of the Qur'an - or did they? Whilst appearing to make the distinction between moderate and radical Islam - one of their favourite topics lately, with the terms purposefully left ambiguous - in reality they probably savoured this new onslaught on Muslims following closely on the footsteps of the most recent storm in a tea cup, the non-debate about the 'mosque about to be built on ground zero'. In both scenarios their argument went that it would be wrong to hold ordinary moderate Muslims responsible for the actions of the radical and violent terrorists amongst them: a typical false set of alternatives, for it serves to cover up the factual reality which is that the success of the 9/11 operation could only have been possible as an insider job at the highest level within the American administration, overriding established checking mechanisms. Conspiracy theory? Well the weirdest conspiracy theory out there is that a few bearded and turban-clad individuals somewhere in an unknown Afghan cave could have duped American air traffic control and penetrated the defences of the Pentagon with such apparent ease. Sure, bin Laden is still out there somewhere and Elvis lives, let's not question those truths!
The public "news" discourse within the global media environment is carefully crafted by what in the book Satanic Voices we called "Satanic Presses", paid for by "Satanic Purses". It does not take much to find a mentally challenged parish priest with a grudge against Islam, but to catapult him to world-wide celebrity status, even if with negative associations, rather than ignore him, does not happen by accident. From the media-instigated burning of Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" via the Danish cartoons to the public burning of Qur'ans on 9/11 (coinciding with Eid-ul-Fitr), these show-downs are intentional provocations to drive a rift between communities and condition them for the next war between Islam and the West. As I pointed out in my latest book Surrendering Islam, ordinary Muslims are "blissfully" unaware how their own assumed Islamic discourse is equally being distorted to serve a wider agenda. Mentally challenged "radical" Muslim preachers are as easy to find as their Christian counterparts, and all too often they have been planted as agents provocateurs to hype up the Muslim response. Since the second world war the CIA has a long history of covert action in the Middle East using Muslim agents originally trained by ex-Nazi secret service personnel through the subterfuge of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Likewise, the British-installed Saudi kingdom provides a safe haven for a US military presence to protect Israel against any potential threat whilst Muslims have bought into the myth that this authoritarian regime is the protector of the two holy places, having systematically destroyed all other historical evidence of Islam's past glory without hardly anybody noticing. Innocence may be bliss, but ignorance isn't. There is a propaganda war going on out there as a run-up to another shooting war, and we are not winning it. No, don't point me to the alleged success of (CIA-created) al-Qaeda or those mystical Afghan warriors. Islam is not winning in Afghanistan where Muslims are sacrificed in a proxy war between America and China, just as Muslims were the cannon fodder for the proxy war between America and Russia in this strategically important region.
So what should the Muslim response be? Certainly not burning Bibles, but I'm sure somebody sooner or later will fall into that trap. When in the year of the prophet Muhammad's birth - peace be with him - Abraha, the ruler of Yemen marched against Makkah to destroy the Kaabah, Abdu-l-Mutallib the chief of Makkah and grandfather of the prophet astounded the invading general by only asking for the return of his confiscated camels: I am the Lord of camels, he declared. The Kaabah has its own Lord, let Him protect it. And He did. The Qur'an is Allah's eternal word and He ensures its protection and survival. It lives in the hearts of believing Muslims and burning a written copy of it can't do it the least of harm. In fact, we ourselves burn copies of the Qur'an to dispose of them cleanly when they have become worn out. So let them burn it and earn Allah's wrath in return, but let us look after ourselves. We are no longer "lords of camels" either, we are nowhere in charge of our own affairs. In our economic dealings, in our communications, in our "freedom" of movement we have become totally dependent on those who want to condition us or destroy us. Let us defend the spirit of Islam by rebuilding communities which can wither the storms and survive, spiritually and materially, even if those ruling over us want to tighten their grip or pull the plug. That's a very difficult task, of course, and like with the Florida preacher, it is much easier to rise to notorious fame with hot air and provocation. Plenty of "radical" leaders have been handpicked for us to do just that, and if we fall for them, we deserve no better.