A few days ago, I was in a local school. While I was talking to a teacher, a student (probably 14 years old) approached politely and asked: “Uncle, do you have a lighter?”, and I knowing of smoking students asked him: “What for?” he replied shyly: ” I want to burn this paper, it has Quranic verses on it.” … I got the whole point then, but I smiled wickedly and shouted: “What! Are you crazy? You want to burn the Holy Quran? (and some students gathered) Look at him! he wants to burn the Quran… Didn’t you see what Happened in Afghanistan a few days ago?” … The poor child was horrified looking at his mates: “No.. I dont want to burn the Quran, I just want to burn this paper and protect the Quanic verses on it not to be stepped on!!” …There was a murmur among the students mostly supported him, and still I wickedly wanted to play the dirty game: “Do you know what does it mean to burn the Holy Quran? You should be killed right on the spot !!”… but I felt pity for the horrified little child and smiled lovingly at his face: “You are a good boy, I was just kidding… one must burn such papers.”… and handed him the lighter… after that I watched the bunch of the little Muslim boys circled on the burning “quranic” paper !!
It is crazy to think of the whole story that way but for those who dont know, some (if not most of) Muslims feel that it is their duty to protect their Holy Book from any insult or humiliation. Any paper (specially at school) that holds quranic verses on it (and you know that at school there are stacks of that) should be burnt to protect the “Word of God” from being stepped on when thrown on the street or be stained with dirt if thrown in rubbish… and so, devoted students usually take the “quaranic papers” to be burned or torn into tiny pieces safely !!! I knew this as I was child, as I knew lot of other paganist rituals that were delivered to us ages ago before “our” prophet Muhammad !!
This story has led my exhausted mind to another one: When I was a child too, I was barely 14 by then and I was herding the goats by the road. A couple of Christians (probably traveling) stopped their car by me, chatted a little with me in my stuttering English and handed me the Bible in Arabic. I loved that present then, and cherished it as a precious toy, and even before going home I devoured the sweets Word of God and sympathized with Jesus “the poor” !!!
When I got home late that evening happy with my new Book, my dad saw it, he took it, read the title and was furious: ” are you crazy to read this book?” and after we housed the goats and fed them, he burnt it in the darkness beside the tent. I could see the flames lightening his happy face and wondered why to be happy for burning a book… just a book……
Now, ages later, I can understand my dad; he wanted to protect his dear son from that “poison”… But that didnt make me more Muslim, nor faithful… AND the burning flames were surging in my little heart ever since !!
Flames…Fire… Burning … is an adhesive part of our heart, the bedouins , we burn to cook, warm our shivering hearts and survive !!
At an international voluntary work camp, I was chatting to an American volunteer while a Palestinian mate was trying vainly to set the fire on… dozens of others volunteers were circling the big bonfire. As a bedouin who was born into the fire, I felt that that guy will never be able to sit a fire. I got up, asked him to rest and took off all the woods off the fire, then started to rearrange them again patiently; the weeds first the sticks and finally the trunks, and a final blow will finish the job to keep the flames for the whole night. as I was to finish, the American girl shouted: Hay Sami ! You are an artist.” and raised her thumb. “Don’t you know that bedouins worship the fire” I said smilingly.
Why in hell burning a book takes all that of blood? The answer is simple: it is the devilish intention to insult faithful believers.. the intention to humiliate a major religion… AND burning a book, just a book, wont stop believing hearts, nor would blind the glaring eyes looking for the truth beyond the paganist rituals of burning just a book; a Quran or a Bible !!