In the decade since 9/11, it seems as though every trade publisher and university press has brought forth a guide to the Qur’an for the perplexed. Carl Ernst eschews the usual method for books of this sort.
Former president Jimmy Carter has called on the U.S. to shut down its prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and two dozen other secret detention centers to demonstrate the nation’s commitment to human rights. Carter made his comments to reporters June 7 in Atlanta—about a week after the Pentagon reported five confirmed incidents of intentional mishandling of the Qur’an at the Guantánamo prison.
When photographs of Saddam Hussein in his underwear were printed in the New York Post and the London Sun, President Bush told the Associated Press: “I don’t think a photo inspires murderers. These people are motivated by a vision of the world that is backward and barbaric.” Then he added, “I think the insurgency is inspired by their desire to stop the march of freedom.”
If a Qur’an is accidentally dropped on the floor, the person who dropped it makes a contribution to charity in atonement. Copies are never placed at the bottom of a pile of books. And because the toilet is considered an impure place, the Qur’an is never taken into the bathroom.
Conservative christian activists have often been unwise or shortsighted in pushing their moral and religious claims in the public square, but their efforts have reminded secular folk that religious belief is decisive for individuals, institutions and societies. They have persuasively made the case that the constitutional disestablishment of religion does not mean the establishment of irreligion.
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