No apologies for bloodshed and hatred
2 March 2012

Il Giornale, February 26 2012

The Quran burning “kills” two Americans. Burning sacred texts is an act of disrespect, but we can’t apologize to killers

Burning the Qurans is clearly a wrong cultural approach. And it is an intolerable blunder when it comes from America, especially during its sensitive phase of withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s difficult to understand how come the American military personnel decided to burn one hundred Qurans. It may reveal a sort of blind innocence, which is inadmissible at that responsibility level. They could have crammed the volumes in a cabinet and conveyed the indications and tip offs (they too sanctified in the eyes of believers?) of their whereabouts through prisoners. Instead they caused an uproar. Let’s therefore consider the error as such; not a distraction, but a lack of respect for other people’s opinions. But the error, the contempt for another belief, the simplistic attitude have nothing to do with the cultural mechanism which has triggered the Islamic violence. It doesn’t belong to us and we don’t have to take it upon ourselves. We, in the West, have been stupid and disrespectful. For example, the theatrical Italian piece staged by Romeo Castelucci, featuring an insulting shit covered Jesus, has been harshly criticized and has raised strong protests. But it stayed in the world of abstract clash. From the point of view of a person who hates the vilification of religions and free opinions – and the author of this article is among them – an action involving a book, even though a fundamental one or a theatrical piece or a film or any proclamation may be criticized, even bashed, but it's never accompanied by killings. Not in the West.

Instead Mohammed’s caricatures provoke a bloodshed; Salman Rushdie’s and many other authors’ books provoke fatwa-blessed murder attempts; the film “Submission” by Theo Van Gogh was followed by a horrifying execution in November 2004; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali intellectual, who found refuge in the Netherlands, has been forced to flee all around the world, like many other intellectuals accused of blasphemy against the Quran. Moreover, believing in a faith other than Islam and being considered a traitor is a crime often punished with death. This is what happens to the poor Nigerians, mainly Christian but also Muslim, killed by the Boko Haram organization that yesterday slaughtered 14 people, massacred 37 in a Church on December 31 and 186 ones last month.

Being a Jew is a crime deserving death twice; the appeal to kill the Jews is a leitmotiv that is taught to children in many Islamic schools and whenever possible it is followed by actions; these days mark the anniversary of Ilan Halimi’s murder in Paris in 2006, perpetrated by a group of fanatics who wanted to eliminate "their Jew". The current incidents in Israel, started by throwing stones from the top of the Wailing Wall against the Jewish people below. And all this again was provoked by words, from the tactless statements posted by an Israeli right wing website calling Jews to climb to the esplanade where the Temple once stood. Again violence against words.

When Obama apologized, perhaps he should have specified that it was for the lack of respect of the Quran, for the non-violent Muslim and not for the ones that beat and kill. Noone should think that our apologies go to stone throwers, hate mongrels and killers. They are simple enemies that we must fight.