Bibles of United States soldiers serving in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed by order of the U.S. State Department because Muslims were offended that the soldiers were filmed reading the Bibles on Arabic Al Jazeera television. CNN reported that that the Bibles were "burned" in order to satisfy the demands of Muslim authorities who were deeply offended that copies of the official sacred book of Christianity, printed in the local language of the Afghans and read by U.S. soldiers fluent in Pashto, were allowed into the country. The burning of the Bibles in Afghansitan was approved by the U.S. government, lauded by the Afghan Muslims and seemed to satiate the anger of those Muslims deeply offended at Bible reading on Arab network television.
Now General David H. Petraeus, U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has denounced plans by a Florida church to burn copies of the Koran this weekend. The White House has also condemned the Florida church's plan, with press secretary Robert Gibbs reiterating Petraeus's contention that the act would be "offensive" to Muslims. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the proposed demonstration "un-American" and said it was "inconsistent with the values of religious tolerance and religious freedom." Muslim, Christian, and other religious leaders are putting pressure on Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Florida not to follow through with his declaration that he will burn the Korans this Saturday, September 11.
I happen to agree that the church's plan to burn the Korans is unwise, and it is obvious that there is outrage in the Muslim world and in our government over the pastor's plan, but my question is a simple and sincere one: Why was there not a similar outrage among Muslims, the American military and the American government over the burning of Bibles in Afghanistan?