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Hezbollah Calls for Vigilante Punishment Against Quran Burners

Swedish right-wingers are burning Qurans, perhaps to justly protest the oppression of women and other atrocities committed in the name of Allah, perhaps just to get attention and push white supremacy. The United States condemned one such protest, saying that it created “an environment of fear”.

Google Translate tells me the red Arabic words I've superimposed on this image of the Quran say "Read it, burn it—your choice."
Google Translate tells me the red Arabic words I’ve superimposed on this image of the Quran say “Read it, burn it—your choice.”

The militant Muslims of Lebanon’s Hezbollah are creating their own environment of fear by calling on young Muslims to wage vigilante war on anyone who desecrates a Quran:

The leader of Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah said Saturday that if governments of Muslim-majority nations do not act against countries that allow the desecration of the Quran, Muslims should “punish” those who facilitate attacks on Islam’s holy book.

The comments by Hassan Nasrallah came in a video address to tens of thousands gathered in Beirut’s southern suburbs to mark Ashoura, a Shiite holy day commemorating the 7th century martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein.

…He said Muslims should watch for the outcome of an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, scheduled to take place in Baghdad on Monday to discuss the organization’s response to the Quran burnings.

The organization and its member states should “send a firm, decisive and unequivocal message to these governments that any repeat of the attacks will be met with a boycott,” Nasrallah said. If they do not, he said, Muslim youth should “punish the desecrators.”

He did not elaborate what such a boycott and punishment should entail [Abby Sewell, “Lebanon’s Hezbollah Leader Urges Muslims to ‘Punish’ Quran Desecrators If Governments Fail to Do So,” AP, 2023.07.29].

For the record, I desecrated a Quran once. A Muslim student had insisted on giving me a Quran as a gift so that I could, I don’t know, find joy in subordinating myself to yet another made-up killer god. I left the book on my shelf until my next move, when I threw the word of that god in the garbage. A believer in that word would call my book-trashing desecration, so… what? Would Hezbollah have all Muslim nations boycott Dakota Free Press? Are the local Muslim youth supposed to come over and beat me up?

I can live with the former; no one has to read anything that one finds ridiculous, blasphemous, or otherwise objectionable. But the latter—”punishing the desecrators”—is unacceptable. Burning or throwing away or otherwise signifying my belief that a certain object is not valuable is as valid an expression of personal belief as venerating a certain object. I cannot punish my neighbor for keeping a Quran or a Bible or Robert Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walks Through Walls on her shelf, but she cannot punish me for trashing my own copy of the same book after reading it and realizing its worthlessness. Say all you want on social media—I can’t believe my neighbor doesn’t like Muhammad/Jesus/Heinlein! What a mutton-head!—but to presume to have the right to exact punishment against someone whose only “offense” is not sharing your belief system is an arrogant rupture of the social cohesion on which our survival depends.

I’d burn a Quran to punctuate my point, but I’d hate to be mistaken for a right-wing kook or ISIS… and the Quran isn’t worth my matches or a ticket for open burning.


  1. grudznick 2023-07-29

    Good on you, Mr. H. grudznick has also thrown away books.

  2. Donald Pay 2023-07-29

    I’m definitely on the side of not burning or throwing away books. There are secondhand book buyers out there who might give you a few bucks for them. Or, you can donate them to a library or your neighborhood “Little Library.” Many places like Goodwill or other thrift stores will take your books. They will either sell them to someone who wants them, or, after a time, will sell them in bulk to a pulping company, where it can be made into another book that you might like.

  3. P. Aitch 2023-07-29

    P. Aitch says, “Kicking a bear is foolish with few if any rewards.” To be continued …
    P. Aitch’s AssIsTant channels two of America’s prominent writers and humorists.
    – Well, Cory, when it comes to topics like burning the Quran, it’s important to tread carefully and approach it with a level of respect and understanding. Now, both Will Rogers and Samuel Clemens were known for their wit and sharp commentary, so let’s see if we can channel their wisdom to tackle this issue.

    First off, it’s crucial to acknowledge that freedom of speech plays a pivotal role in our society. We’ve got the right to express our opinions and beliefs, even if they’re not in line with majority views. However, exercising that freedom comes with responsibilities, like ensuring that we don’t stoke unnecessary hatred or incite violence.

    Now, burning any religious text, be it the Quran or any other holy book, is a deeply sensitive matter. It holds significant meaning and reverence for millions of people around the world. So, while we may have differing opinions on certain religious texts, it’s necessary to approach the topic with empathy and respect for others’ beliefs.

    As for the idea that the Quran isn’t worth a box of matches or violating open burning laws, well, that’s a testament to the power of perspective and finding more constructive ways to engage with one another. Rather than resorting to such inflammatory statements, it’s far more fruitful to invest our energy in promoting mutual understanding and dialogue, even when we hold differing beliefs.

    Both Rogers and Clemens would likely remind us that we can foster respect and genuine conversation by seeking common ground and embracing empathy. They both understood the value of looking beyond our differences to find the shared experiences that make us all human.

    So, instead of focusing on what divides us, let’s strive for unity and the celebration of our diverse beliefs and cultures. After all, it’s through open-mindedness and a willingness to listen that we truly grow as individuals and as a society.

  4. chris 2023-07-29

    Yes, everyone please donate your old Tim LaHaye book sets to the little libraries in your town. The public can’t get enough of those.

  5. sx123 2023-07-29

    Bibles, Quarans, they’re just paper. Unless digital.

    Is it OK to delete Bible verses or Quaran verses from your harddrive? Or does this bring the wrath if the devout?

  6. Arlo Blundt 2023-07-29’s ancient writing, whether it’s the oral history of a group of Hebrew goat grazers living in the hills of Judea or the musing of a desert prophet from a tribe of wandering Arabs. They lived close to nature, didn’t quite understand it, and attributed much of what they experienced to the Divine Power. Some of it is compelling reading, both books revere Jesus of Judea, and both rely on prophecy to propel their story line forward. I’m not sure what to make of it all, but here we are, a culture that sends space probes to Saturn which sends back pictures of the many moons of that planet, and we’re hung up on killing each other over what is the true message of these ancient peoples who wandered through the desert and pondered the world around them and the universe above them.

  7. e platypus onion 2023-07-29

    Magats appear headed to their own inter-party holy war, (so much for religious freedumb)

    You’re not bringing your idols into our country’: Christian Nationalists balking at Vivek Ramaswamy GOP presidential bid

  8. Donald Pay 2023-07-29

    sx123 asks a good question: “Is it OK to delete Bible verses or Quaran verses from your harddrive?”

    The answer is yes. Delete anything you want from your hard drive.

  9. grudznick 2023-07-29

    If you throw away one of those funny little book things…a Kindy…you are throwing away a bible and a koran, and a Book of Shadows, and a Tipitaka. The Kindy has the potential to be any of those religious books and you will have all the gods coming down on you with the wrath of gods.

    Or are you just throwing away paper. Or a busted electronic device.

    Get a grip on yourownselfs, people.

  10. P. Aitch 2023-07-29

    A straw man argument is when someone misrepresents their opponent’s position to make it easier to attack, rather than addressing their actual arguments. – The AssIsTant

  11. grudznick 2023-07-29

    The AssIsT(AI)nt?

  12. P. Aitch 2023-07-29

    AI is for those with natural curiosity about science, grudz. Nothing for you to see or understand. Go back to your basement.

  13. grudznick 2023-07-29

    grudznAIck is a generative and self aware entity not to be trifled with, as you have already been flagged as a seat sniffer, Mr. P.h. You should not becon additional attention of grudznAIck to focus on your puny self.

  14. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-07-30

    I threw away the Book of Mormon a simpleminded and overzealous neighbor foisted on me. It went right into the kitchen trash with the coffee grounds, peach pits, and empty cat food cans, and I washed my hands right afterwards. And yet….I sleep peacefully.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-07-30

    Hezbollah chief Nasrallah also said this week that any gay person who engages in homosexual activities even on time to be killed.

    I approach that Islamic thinking with contempt, not respect. Islamic fundamentalists are using the same hateful tactics as America’s Christian fundamentalists to maintain power through fear:

    Hate speech functions as a tool of diversion, wielded by Nasrallah and political elites to divert public attention from profound economic disparities and governance failures,” Hussein Cheaito, an economist who focuses on queer political economy, wrote on Twitter, which is being rebranded as “X”.

    “This calculated tactic perpetuates their grip on power,” he said, while adding to “a vicious cycle of discrimination, fear, and exclusion, entwined with Lebanon’s socio-economic fabric” [“Hezbollah Chief in New Attack on Same-Sex Relations,” AFP via France 24, 2023.07.29].

    Religious fundamentalism is the enemy of civil society and pluralistic democracy. Such violent fundamentalism has no place in our celebration of diversity. Sharing texts supporting such fundamentalism only undermines the community P. Aitch promotes.

  16. John 2023-07-30

    I read the Quran. It’s nothing special, but then neither is the Bible special. Consider, instead of tossing a Quran, placing it in a motel room. Sarcasm.

    Ramaswamy essentially disqualified himself today – resolving to pardon the criminal trump. Pardoning trump retains a US rule of men, not a rule of law. The political class pardoned the confederates to, ‘bring the nation together’. That didn’t work. Pardoning the traitors brought the US 100 years of Jim Crow and the civil rights struggles. Padoning the criminal nixon didn’t ‘bring the nation together’. Instead the nation seethed and threw out Ford at the first opportunity. The US must follow the rule of law – or risk continuing as a faux republic.

  17. e platypus onion 2023-08-13

    Famous words from Grand Funk Railroad’s “Closer to Home” Kansas cops raided a newspaper office and editor’s home and seized computers, records, phones and even the editor’s bank records because the paper was investigating a restaurant owner who feuded with paper. The raid stressed the editor’s Mother so much she collapsed and died. She was 98.

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