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”.
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.