On February 20th, the news spread in Afghanistan that the Koran, the Muslim holy book, along with other religious materials and some trash had been burned at a U.S. airbase. Protests against the US presence in Afghanistan erupted in the streets with Afghans trying to storm at least U.S. base.
President Barack Obama issued a swift apology to the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, for the Koran burning and has ordered that by March 3rd all U.S. troops are to undergo training on how to dispose of religious materials. The apology did nothing to soothe the rage aroused in the protesters; protests have continued to rage without abatement in the streets.
Two U.S. soldiers were murdered soon after the Koran burning while working in the Afghan Interior Ministry.
An investigation in the Koran burnings is under way and U.S. officials say it will take time before any official decision is reached about the cause of the Koran burning or what, if any, steps should be taken to punish those involved.
MSNBC is reporting that, “A military official with knowledge of the incident told The Associated Press the Muslim holy books had been removed from a library at a nearby detention center because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions. He said it appeared the Qurans and other Islamic readings were being used to fuel extremism, and detainees apparently were leaving notes for one another inside them.”
To Christians, the Bible contains the word of God but it is still just a book that can be reprinted if damaged. To Muslims, the Koran is literally the word of God and destroying to damaging the book in any way is verboten; according to their faith, the Koran must be properly treated and disposed of.
The U.S. is supposed to be ‘nation-building’ in Afghanistan; NATO forces are not scheduled to leave until 2014. One has to wonder what kind of nation the U.S. is building if after over 10 years in the country the citizens don’t hesitate to take to the streets chanting “Death to America” after what was ostensibly only an accident on the part of some US soldiers.