Quran burnings in Sweden


Riots have erupted in several Swedish cities in recent weeks over Quran burnings carried out by far-right Danish-Swedish politician and lawyer Rasmus Paludan. Seven police officers were injured in the city of Örebro. When Paludan announces his action in Sweden, he is accompanied by the police so that he can burn the Quran in complete safety. He prefers to do this in neighborhoods where many Muslims live. In Belgium, Germany and France, where Paludan also planned to burn a Quran in public, he was immediately expelled from the country. In this contribution I want to answer the question of what is a wise policy here.

First and foremost I would like to express my personal opinion. I would never take such an action, because I don't want to hurt anyone needlessly. I also disapprove of these actions, but I do think that they should not be banned. To clarify things, I draw a comparison with the Bible. If someone were to burn the Bible, nobody cares. Perhaps there will be an angry letter in a Christian newspaper, but no stones are thrown and whoever performs this prank should not fear for his life.

In Europe we have known since 1748 what a civilized response is to a crime against religion. Montesquieu wrote the following about this in 'De l'esprit des lois' (Volume 12, Chapter 4): 'Evil is caused by the idea that one must take revenge for God's sake. We better honor God and never take revenge. In the latter case, the punishments never end. If man decides to take revenge in the name of the Eternal, then it goes on forever. It is better to take into account the weakness, ignorance and fickleness of human nature'.

As an example, Montesquieu gives the conviction of a Jewish man in Provence. He supposedly slandered the Virgin Mary and as punishment he would be flayed alive. When the sentence was to be carried out in a public square, four masked noblemen came on the scaffold; they chased the executioner away and themselves executed the sentence to restore the honor of the Virgin Mary. This kind of barbarism has long since become a thing of the past in the West, because thanks to enlightened minds like Montesquieu we have reached a higher level of civilization.

The conclusions we can draw from this is (1) wanting to take revenge in the name of Allah is blasphemous. Man himself thinks he knows better than Allah and (2) there is never an end to the vengeance against anyone who takes anything against Islam. As a result, the violence never stops in Islamic countries. This is facilitated by the 165 calls in the Quran for violence against non-Muslims and apostates, in which the Jews are mainly targeted. So there will never be peace in the Middle East. Peace between the Shia and the Sunnis is an impossibility. Peace between the Palestinians and the Jews in Israel is a contradictio in terminis. Integration of Muslims in Europe is a dangerous illusion. Islam, on the other hand, is a religion of peace in areas where only Muslims of the same denomination live. It seems that an apartheid policy in the Middle East and in Israel is the only solution to contain the violence. Unless, of course, Islam also has an Enlightenment, but it took us four centuries to do that ourselves.

What is a wise policy? Well, I must confess that in my opinion there is no wise policy possible. There is no compromise to be made with those who fight in the name of the Eternal against those who disagree with them. So we face an eternal religious war. Actions such as Quran burnings and all the violence that follows keep us aware of the dangers of Islam. Anyone who forbids these actions essentially assumes that Islam is a violent ideology. We know that we don't have to forbid similar actions against Christianity because no violence is to be expected. The problem is not so much Islam, but the politicians of the traditional parties who do not want to and do not dare to see the unsolvable problem.

   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024