James McGrath, writer of the great blog Exploring Our Matrix, wants to get out the message that in response to the scheduled Sept. 11 Qur’an burning and wallowing display of bigotry and ignorance, people of all faiths should respond by reading it.
McGrath writes of a Florida pastor who has set aside Sunday, Sept. 12 and is encouraging a mass reading:
Presumably everyone has heard by now that a group of “Christians” in Florida is planning a Qur’an-burning event on the anniversary of 9/11. (Apparently they are also planning to burn the Talmud, which was news to me—will they be protesting the end of Rosh ha-Shanah?!). Stephen Prothero has called for moderate Christians to speak out on the issue of burning the Qur’an, and I agree that we should.
Rev. Larry Reimer, minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Florida, recently proposed an alternative: the best way to protest what the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, is planning is to read the Qur’an. This seems an appropriate way to not interfere with the free speech of others, and yet use our own freedom to express our dismay at those who use their freedom to express intolerance and to attempt to provoke others to violence and conflict.
For those who wish to read the Qur’an online, here is a link.
McGrath ends with a quote by Heinrich Heine, who said, “Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people.”