While some countries in these regions once had blasphemy laws that were punishable by death, they have since abolished such laws, citing freedom of expression as the reason. Unfortunately, the burning of religious texts, especially the Quran, is seen by authorities as exercising that freedom. This perspective is deeply flawed, as such acts are often perpetuated to incite violent reactions from Muslims and promote anti-Islam sentiments globally.
Throughout history, the burning of religious texts has manifested hate against specific communities or beliefs. For instance, Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered a bonfire of books to suppress other schools of thought, while the Catholic Church executed philosophers for challenging their doctrines. In the Spanish Inquisition, Jewish and Muslim scriptures were targeted for burning and desecration.
Some well-known instances of book burning were carried out by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, who framed themselves as victims of the Jewish community. This pattern of victimization is shared by groups and individuals involved in Quran burning.
Religious texts are vital repositories of civilization, history, arts, literature, and societal stories. While modern technology has made it possible to preserve and immortalize books, the act of burning religious texts signifies deep-rooted hatred and bigotry towards the communities associated with those texts.
John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, in his 1644 book Areopagitica wrote: "Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature… but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself—" But of course, Milton did not know in the future technology will allow humanity to preserve every idea and every book. He also was unaware that millions of Muslims memorize the Quran and keep the text in their hearts.
Religious texts carry civilization in their pages. Books are the voices of history, the beauty of arts and literature, and the stories of human society.
Technology has immortalized books. When some groups burn books, they know that books are there to exist. But they show their hatred and bigotry against those whose books they burn.
Muslims must realize that they will always face people with deeply rooted hatred against them, their faith, and their books. Their response should emerge from divine guidance in the Quran.
We are aware that your heart is strained by what they say - So glorify the praise of your Lord, and be among those who bow down - And worship your Lord until your last breath.
Endure, then, with patience (all that they who deny the truth may say] -always remembering that it is none but God who gives you the strength to endure adversity -and do not grieve over them, and neither be distressed by the false arguments they devise.