When World Dove Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones announced his plans for a “Koran” conflagration, every other low-rent, back-pocket preacher in the Great American Boondocks took heart. A compliant media had let it be known that just the right blend of religious intolerance mixed with a pyrotechnic photo-op was a guaranteed gate-pass to national broadcast celebrity.
When Pastor Jones declared his intent to “stand up to radical Islam” by staging a Koran Cook-out on the lawn of his 50-member church, the media faithfully flocked to Florida to consecrate his end-of-Ramadan/Anniversary of 9/11 stunt. Thankfully, Pastor Jones has decided to “stand down.” Whether it was God’s (Revised) Word or the attention of the FBI that changed his plans is not yet clear. Unfortunately, there are other provocateurs-of-the-cloth ready to take up torch.
Jones had insisted that he has a First Amendment right to insult and anger millions of Muslim faithful. If any US soldiers — or American citizens — die as a result, Jones insists it is not his responsibility. But as everyone from the Pope to General Petraeus has cautioned, every right comes with responsibilities. It is clear to Petraeus that Jones’ proposed threat to ignite the Qur’an would be tantamount to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater of war.
When a reporter from NBC Nightly News asked Jones if he had read the Qur’an, the pastor replied that he had only read “parts.” Asked to cite a specific line from the Qur’an that offended him, Jones replied that the Muslim Holy Book did not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the salvation of mankind. The reporter then pointed out that the Jewish Torah also fails to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. “So, would you burn the Torah?”
If Jones and the rest of Christian Crusader Chorus of Holy Railers would just take the time to read the Qur’an, they might be surprised to learn that “burning the Koran” would also involve setting fire to many pages in Christianity’s Holy Bible.
There are many surprising similarities between the Bible and the Qur’an. Here are some revelations:
The Qur’an includes 50 of the same personalities featured in the Bible, including: Adam and Even (Adam and Hawwaa), Abraham (Ibrahim), Joseph (Yusuf), Moses (Musa), David, Job, Enoch, Ishmael, Saul, Gideon, Miriam, Zechariah, Cain and Abel (Qabil and Habil), Noah (Nuh), Mary (Maryam) and even Jesus (Isa), who is mentioned in Sura 3, 4, 5, 19, 43 and 61.
The Qur’an also contains the story of David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, and Sodom and Gomorrah. The Qur’an recounts the Exodus from Egypt, the parting of the sea, the drowning of the Pharaoh’s armies and the false worship of the Golden Calf. The Qur’an recalls how God called on Abraham to sacrifice his son. The Qur’an recounts how Joseph survived the attack of his jealous brothers and found a new live in Egypt.
There are some differences. In the Qur’an’s version Lot’s wife is not turned to salt when she dares to glance back at Sodom. In the Qur’an, she remains behind. In the Bible, Abraham is prepared to sacrifice Isaac on God’s altar. The Qur’an does not name Abraham’s son. (Many Muslims believe the sacrifice was to have been Ishmael, Abraham’s oldest son.)
The similarities continue. The Qur’an and the Bible both celebrate the Creation and the Garden of Eden. In both books, God/Allah creates Adam from clay and draws Eve from his body. In both books, there is a Sacred Tree, a warning not to eat its fruit, a temptation in the form of Satan/a serpent and an expulsion from Paradise.
Both books teach that humankind was created to follow the moral commands set out by the Creator. Both books call on the faithful to make a pilgrimage to the Holy City. Both require the regular reading and recitation of scripture. Both join the Torah in turning forks-down on pork.
The Qur’an and the Bible agree that there is only One God who created heaven and earth. (The Qur’an does not muddy these theosophical waters with a Trinity that includes a Son and Holy Ghost.) In both books, the greatest sin is idolatry.
In the Qur’an, Jesus is shown leading his disciples, healing the blind, and raising the dead. He is identified as the Messiah, a man filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking the word of God. (In this regard, the Qur’an is more “Christian” than the Torah.) In the Qur’an both Jesus and Mary insist that they not be worshipped, that it is God who should be venerated.
Much has been made of the “brutality of Sharia Law” following the Iranian government’s threat to condemn a married woman to a death by stoning. While the punishment certainly qualifies as “barbaric,” it’s important to remember that stoning was also practiced in Biblical times and is reported in the Bible. When Jesus famously said: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” he was not talking to a mob of Islamic zealots.
Finally, both the Qur’an and the Bible contain variants on the Lord’s Prayer (“Surah Fatehah” in the Qur’an) and both holy tomes contain the Ten Commandments — and they agree on every point. (The Qur’an actually offers 12 Commandments.)
This information should well-serve Pastor Jones — and any would-be copycat “Koran cookers.” In our Holy Books, as in all facets of our human experience, there is more that binds us together than separates us. It is the duty of religion to bring people together, in respectful communion. This is clear in the definition of what makes a “good Christian” and a “good Muslim.” The two books are remarkably consistent:
The Bible: “Trust in the Lord and do good.” (Psalms 37:31)
The Qur’an: “Those who believe and work righteousness.” (Qur’an 2:25, 2:62, 2:25)
The Two 10 Commandments
1: There is no other god beside GOD." (Bible)
He is the one God; there is no other god beside Him. (Qur’an)
2: Thou shall make no image of God. (Bible)
No visions can encompass Him… protect me and my children from worshiping idols. (Qur’an)
3 Thou shall not use God's name in vain. (Bible)
Do not subject God’s name to your casual swearing. (Qur’an)
4 Thou shall honor thy mother and father. (Bible)
Your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, "Uff" (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them. (Qur’an)
5 Thou shall not steal. (Bible)
The thief, male or female, you shall mark their hands as a punishment for their crime. (Qur’an)
6 Thou shall not lie or give false testimony. (Bible)
Do not withhold any testimony by concealing what you had witnessed. Anyone who withholds a testimony is sinful at heart. (Qur’an)
7 Thou shall not kill. (Bible)
You shall not kill any person - for God has made life sacred. (Qur’an)
8 Thou shall not commit adultery. (Bible)
You shall not commit adultery; it is a gross sin, and an evil behavior. (Qur’an)
9 Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife or possessions. (Bible)
And do not covet what we bestowed upon any other people. Such are temporary ornaments of this life, whereby we put them to the test. What your Lord provides for you is far better, and everlasting. (Qur’an)
10 Thou shall keep the Sabbath holy. (Bible)
We are told in the Quran that the Sabbath was only decreed for the Jews. God, however, ordered us to make every effort and drop all businesses to attend the congregational (Friday) prayer. O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu`ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of GOD, and drop all business. (Qur’an)