Reading this despatch from Kabul is fascinating: The NYT‘s journalist is clearly disturbed by what he observes, and agonizes over what might explain it. The most salient explanation is just so far beyond what he regards as credible, that he keeps searching. In vain. What comes to the surface is the profound role that Islam has in the life of people of the Muslim world — and how, still today, many in the West struggle to grasp that fact.
The mullah was astounded and a little angered to be asked why the accidental burning of Korans last month could provoke violence nationwide, while an intentional mass murder that included nine children last Sunday did not.
“How can you compare the dishonoring of the Holy Koran with the martyrdom of innocent civilians?” said an incredulous Mullah Khaliq Dad, a member of the council of religious leaders who investigated the Koran burnings. “The whole goal of our life is religion.”
“To Muslims, and especially to Afghans, religion is much higher a concern than civilian or human casualties,” said Hafez Abdul Qayoom, a member of Afghanistan’s highest clerical body, the Ulema Council. “When something happens to their religion, they are much more sensitive and have much stronger reaction to it.”
Afghans are quick to recall a proverb: “You give your money away for your life, but you give your life away for your religion.”
The entire article is here.