Koran Burning Condemned by International PEN President

By Jason Boog Comment

1116_saul.jpgInternational PEN president John Ralston Saul condemned “International Burn A Koran Day,” reminding readers that the “burning of books is a profoundly contemptuous display of hatred.”

The incendiary event is scheduled for September 11, 2010 at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. It has already drawn criticism from President Barack Obama, who told the church to “listen to those better angels.”

Saul (pictured, via) had this statement: “There is only one religion of book burning. Whatever the book–a text from any religion, a novel, a philosophical treatise, a poem–those who cast it into the flames stand arm-in-arm with Goebbels on a square in Berlin worshipping at the altar of hatred. Such hatred can always invoke as justification some earlier offence, real or imagined. The specific acts of individuals are then distended into a revengeful condemnation of whole cultures or religions or peoples … PEN stands for unlimited freedom of expression. But we also believe in restraint, not as self-censorship but as the expression of that true complexity of human relationships which great literature invokes.”