Burning Holy Sriptures: Freedom or Abuse? (By: Shamsi Ali)
By: Imam Shamsi Ali, President of the Nusantara Foundation
Last Saturday, January 21, a radical Swedish politician named Rasmus Paludan burned the copy of Holy Quran. This burning was carried out in front of the Turkiye Embassy as a form of anger against Islam which was considered a threat to the future of his country.
Rasmus Paludan’s crime is not the first time. Some time ago he had also done the same thing and on both occasions the Swedish government deemed the crime legal with a guarantee of freedom. In fact, specifically obtaining permission from the police with security guarding when carrying out the action.
These incidents that often occur in European countries and in the West in general are certainly triggers for strong reactions from the Ummah and the Islamic world. In Sweden itself, there have been counter demonstrations by the Muslim Community, especially from the Turkish Community.
Leaders of Muslim-majority countries have expressed strong protest and condemnation of this Al-Quran burning incident. Besides Erdogan from Turkey, also the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, strongly condemned the burning of the Quran. The Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs also conveyed the same curse.
The burning that was carried out was indeed because of his hatred of Islam which was increasingly developing in Western countries. Islam is predicted by many to become the majority religion in many countries, even globally in the not too distant future. In various European countries such as Britain, Germany, France and many more, Islam is increasingly appearing in the mainstream and even in government.
Freedom of expression or harassment?
One of the reasons that is always used as a justification for actions like this, including the burning of the Holy Scriptures and/or insulting the Prophet/Rasul, especially Muhammad Shalallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, is freedom of expression. This means that doing something like this should be guaranteed, even respected because it is an expression of a noble value.
To be honest, I am even more confused about the meaning of freedom in a Western/European perspective. My confusion is getting worse because freedom is often viewed one-sidedly and full of dishonesty. If being on the side that benefits them then that’s freedom. But if that freedom is on the other side then it is immediately seen upside down as a “confinement”.
The real example before our eyes is when they express themselves freely with their clothes. They consider it as part of freedom that must be respected. They were angry when Islamic countries demanded non-Muslim European women, for example, to cover their genitals (veiled for example) while in a Muslim-majority country.
But when Muslims want to express their freedom by wearing clothes that cover their genitals, including wearing the headscarf, they develop the opinion that this is a confinement to women. Even considered contrary to the universal values of the world, including freedom and progress.
Another thing that is confusing is that freedom is often understood as an unlimited right. Even though everything in this life has a limit. There is only one that has no limits: the one who creates and determines the limitations himself, Allah Subhanallahu wata’ala.
The dilemma is that the expression of unlimited freedom has become a Western way of life called “liberalism” (the notion of absolute freedom). So when Westerners say “freedom” or real freedom, what they mean is liberalism. A concept that is definitely unbalanced and even irrational and therefore not in line with Islamic views.
Freedom is actually limited by the moral values that bind it. When that expression of freedom tramples on the value of morality then it is no longer freedom. Rather “oppression” or/or “exploitation”.
A simple example might be when I express my freedom of speech. I believe if indeed I am free to speak and no one can silence my mouth (except Allah, of course, from a religious perspective). But when the words that come out of my mouth insult people, then that’s not freedom anymore. My behavior has demeaned the value of human morality. By itself turns into oppression (tyranny) to others.
It is at this level that we judge that insulting religion, the Prophet and/or the Holy Scriptures is not freedom. But it is “immorality” that causes oppression of other people who glorify religion (God, Prophets, Holy Scriptures, etc.).
I end by confirming to those who abuse religion, the Quran, the Prophets and Messengers. You think you are smart but actually you are stupid. Uou feel civilized, but in reality you are barbaric. And know that the book you are burning does not diminish the glory of the Quran in the least. We are angry because it is a natural feeling as humans and it is our duty to defend it.
Know, Al-Quran is the Divine Word that will never be burned. So when you burn a book, rest assured that the Koran will not burn. Because the Quran is in the care of Him who is the guardian of the heavens and the earth.
In the end you will regret it and there will be a time when you will realize and be amazed. Because the more you make efforts to silence the Quran, the more its light will penetrate millions of people in your country and all over the world.
We will continue to be honest with the values of religious teachings and morality, as well as those universal values. Therefore, we are consistent with our religious teachings and human morality. So that we have never and will not insult other people’s religions and beliefs. In addition to that, humane manners are also because that is the teaching of our religion.
And if with that fact you continue to cultivate anger “perish with your anger” (Ali Imran: 119). (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)