March 29, 2006

Germans Seek Book-Banning Again: This Time The Koran
— Ace

Goldstein mulls the issue here and clarifies his mulling here.

You can't ban an idea, no matter how hateful. And as Jeff notes, the primary power of the Koran isn't its "book" quality, but it's talismanic quality. Banning the book would only increase the latter, which is the more problematic part of that.

Besides: It's wrong to ban books. That may be simplistic, but sometimes wisdom is pretty simple.

Posted by: Ace at 08:31 AM | Comments (18)
Post contains 85 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I agree that banning the Koran is wrong and stupid. Pooping on it, however . . .

Posted by: adolfo velasquez at March 29, 2006 08:41 AM (gfEuu)

2 I wouldn't make an absolute blanket statement that it's always wrong to ban books. A book that teaches the best ways to stalk, capture, and rape little girls probably ought to be banned. It's just generally counterproductive to ban a book, and in the case of the Koran wouldn't really accomplish anything since it's readily available.

Posted by: Canelone at March 29, 2006 08:55 AM (1Vbso)

3 How about printing the Koran on the inside wrapper on a tube of Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage?

That would reduce the talismanic effect of the Koran, while improving the smell the next time the Muslims

Throw a book into a fire?


Throw a tube of Jimmy Dean Sausage into the blaze?


Posted by: BumperStickerist at March 29, 2006 09:01 AM (9XMl6)

4 If anything, the Koran needs more exposure among non-Muslims. When you read what is actually in there it's a lot easier to take a strong stance in opposition to Islam.

Posted by: epobirs at March 29, 2006 09:49 AM (u8AQj)

5 Epo has it right. Banning it is EXACTLY the wrong thing to do. We should, instead, pass a law forcing everyone to READ THE THING.

Posted by: rightnumberone at March 29, 2006 10:39 AM (bduOR)

6 epo and rightnumber: Brilliant idea.
Also, all food and beverage companies could be required to print verses from the Koran on their packaging. Especially, Bumperstickerist, if the food contains porky substances.
Martha's eating her morning cereal, browsing the packet.. "As for [women] from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them." --What the...?
Kid's eating a hamburger, reads the wrapping: "Kill the infidels wherever you find them"--Mommy, are we infidels?...
Word will get around a whole lot faster if you stop the MSM or, heaven forbid, censors "protecting" people from the true nature of the Koran

Posted by: erwin at March 29, 2006 12:19 PM (JNzdO)

7 Indeed, it's the lack of understanding of the psychos we face and the dangers involved that have too many people complacent or willing to give up.

It's sad people aren't willing to trust the wisdom of people who know better any more, but I guess that's the price we pay for being skeptical.

Posted by: Canelone at March 29, 2006 04:11 PM (1Vbso)

8 I understand that Germany bans Mein Kampf and other Nazi books, and books advocating genocide and killing based on race or religion.

So banning the Koran would seem to be merely consistent. Still, I would be surprised if they actually did so.

Those who say Islam is a peaceful religion would point out that the Koran is contradictory on such points, and not uniformly in favor of such behaviour. More to the point, a ban on the Koran would lead to more violence than the Danich cartoons, and I wouldn't exactly expect Germany to stand up to the resulting riots and assassinations.

Posted by: DWPittelli at March 29, 2006 04:13 PM (23C/f)

9 Is this going to be anything like the movie FARINHEIT 451? will they use their own FIREMEN to go out and burn all those books will those islamic radicals burn with their KORAN?

Posted by: spurwing plover at March 29, 2006 04:56 PM (uPdgJ)

10 Ace, have you compiled a "Top Ten Quotable Quotes from the Quran"? Given that "The Quran is Honourable," you seem to be slighting it if you haven't given it its own list.

Posted by: Kralizec at March 29, 2006 05:23 PM (gHR/6)

11 The Prophet does not allow your wife (wives) to colour their nails in a whorish fashion. Prophet Mumammed forbids females to express themselves and they shall burn with their heads upon pikes, peace be unto Muhammed.

Gotta love Islam!

Posted by: ErikW at March 29, 2006 05:57 PM (78hsC)

12 Any religion that has multiple wives but prohibits strong drink is one on which I'll take a pass, thank you.

Posted by: Canelone at March 29, 2006 06:47 PM (1Vbso)

13 but it's talismanic quality

Oh, you have no idea. The vast majority of people who recite the Qur'an (after all "Qur'an" means "that which is recited") don't understand it. Even Arabic-speakers don't understand all of it. Some parts not even Qur'anic experts can understand. (So much for being clear, as the Qur'an claims.) People treat the Qur'an as if it were some magic book, whose sounds will dispell evil and accumulate for oneself merit with which to enter Heaven (or distribute to various loved ones). For someone who knows nothing about Islam, it may seem like they worship the book like an idol.

And don't get me started on superstitions and folk magic involving Qur'anic verses. Oy.

I am not making this up: there was a Pakistani movie made wherein the hero was like Superman. He could move extremely swiftly. The villain, an Indian (probably Hindu too - Pakistani movies can be quite propagandistic against India and Hindus), keeps shooting at him but the hero misses every shot by miraculously moving away. That is, until the villain aims at a copy of the Qur'an. The hero places himself in the bullet's path so it won't hit the book. Naturally, the hero gets hit with the bullet and after a tearful last speech dies in the arms of his protege. Such dreck I had never before seen.

There are myriad rules about how to treat and read the Qur'an. It's quite ridiculous, really.

Posted by: Muslihoon at March 29, 2006 07:08 PM (Q8UK2)

14 I have heard ad nauseum that you can't really understand the koran unless you read it in Arabic, but your comments don't exactly help me trust that idea, Muslihoon.

I don't want to impugn Muslims, but from my limited observation and study it appears that Islam appeals greatly to the ... shall we say less than literate? At least the more superstitious and less rational.

Posted by: Canelone at March 29, 2006 08:22 PM (1Vbso)

15 By the way in a related topic: Waldenbooks and Borders are refusing to carry a copy of a magazine because Muslims are warning them not to:

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.

In 200a, Borders hosted events to highlight the tragedy of banned books:

Borders Books, Music, and Cafe, 4030 Commonwealth Ave., hosted a reading in honor of banned books week. This was the first in a series of three readings in the Eau Claire area to increase awareness about banned books. Nine area residents read excerpts from their favorite banned books.

One of the readers, English lecturer Elizabeth Preston, said at the time: “Where is the line between banning a book and banning a group of people from reading? Who is in charge of drawing that line?”

hat tip to Tim Blair for this bit of news

Posted by: Canelone at March 30, 2006 06:03 AM (1Vbso)

16 But doing so is oh so German after all.

Posted by: Theresa at March 30, 2006 10:16 AM (tN0oi)

17 Canelone: Indeed.

First of all: The claim that one cannot understand the Qur'an unless it's in Arabic is utterly ridiculous. He who accepts this claim must then accept that the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Bhagavadgita, the Septuagint, and the Avesta cannot be understood unless read and studied in Hebrew (and Aramaic), Greek, Sanskrit, Greek, and Avestan respectively.

Second: Muslims tend to treat the Qur'an as a talisman or a fetish rather than a book. In the mind of most Muslims, the Qur'an exists to be revered rather than read and understood. How Muslims treat the Qur'an is very different from the paradigm towards Scriptures that exists in Christianity and Judaism.

Third: It is impossible to completely understand the Qur'an even in Arabic, thanks to a variety of factors including the use of Arabic words whose meanings are now unknown. And contradictions. And grammatical errors. Et cetera. As such, what matters more is how the Qur'an is interpreted rather than what it says.

Posted by: Muslihoon at March 30, 2006 10:31 AM (Q8UK2)

18 Yeah I made that point elsewhere: Islam is not as likely to reform as Christianity or Judaism simply because while these two latter religions welcome, encourage, and call for study and thought, Islam condemns and opposes such. Christianity has a long history of deep thought, examination, study and understanding, which has lead to several reformations, not just the one led by Martin Luther.

Islam calls for submission and obedience rather than study and comprehension, neither of which are exactly conducive to reformation.

Posted by: Canelone at March 30, 2006 11:49 AM (1Vbso)

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