Editorial: Burned Qur'ans are an Attack on American Values, Not Just on Islam

June 17, 2005

Source: The Roanoke Times


On June 17, 2005 the editorial of The Roanoke Times commented on the report of burned Qur'ans at the Islamic Center of Blacksburg [Virginia]. The Times writes, "Burned Qurans are in line with an ugly, intolerant nativism creeping into U.S. discourse.

Hate crime or not, the deposit of a bagful of burned Qurans on the steps of the Islamic Center of Blacksburg was an act of profound contempt.

Whoever was responsible obviously was contemptuous of Muslims. But the scorn expressed extends to principles that maintain America's social fabric: tolerance and respect for fellow human beings. Adherence to those ideals has waxed and waned through U.S. history. Foreign wars, economic upheaval and social change have repeatedly sparked nativist hostility and dehumanization of the 'other.'

Roman Catholics and Jews, Irish and Chinese, Hispanics and Japanese - all have been targets of popular resentment, discrimination and even violence, typically abetted by religious and political demagogues...Law alone cannot preserve a pluralistic society in freedom and peace. It also requires a common willingness to compromise, cooperate and, yes, respect and tolerate each other. The burning of Qurans is an assault on far more than Islam."