Ugh. File this under major stupidity: On Sept. 11, Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida plans to stage "International Burn a Koran Day" to demonstrate his anti-Islam values. Jones heads the Dove World Outreach Center, which consists of about 50 members. He says he wants to do it as a "tribute to Sept. 11 victims as well as to speak out against Islam."
Despite death threats and warnings from the White House that the burning of the holy books will endanger troops stationed in Muslim countries, Jones says he's definitely pushing through with the burning the holy book of Islam.
More enlightened Americans have condemned the act (including Angelina Jolie!). Some have reacted by joining the "Read A Quran Day" movement, which--you guessed it--has people pledging instead to read the Qu'ran to promote learning about other cultures instead of insulting them. Peace and enlightenment, y'all! As the site says:
"Declaring 'Burn a Qur'an Day' doesn't just insult Muslims -- it insults all Americans. It puts our troops overseas in danger. Worst of all, it helps terrorists recruit new members and spread the message that their war is a holy one between Islam and the West."
The Koran is an ancient text that has literary merit as well; it's not only influenced books and novels, but music.
And it's definitely a touchy subject--after the jump, listen to three contemporary songs that been the subject of major controversy because they've included passages of the Koran or referred to them.
1. Toumani Diabate's "Tapha Niang"
The Grammy Award-winning African kora player's song was pulled from the Play Station 3 game Little Big Planet because it included passages from the Koran.
2. Mohsen Namjoo's "Tolou"
Iranian Mohsen Namjoo is known for fusing traditional Persian music with Western styles such as rock, jazz, and blues. He blends the verses of great Iranian poets, such as Hafiz and Rumi, with his own poetry and words. "Tolou" mixes Persian music with Koranic verses spoken by Namjoo. Posted without Namjoo's knowledge and consent, it made people very angry because music distracts listener from the word of God, because when the Koran is being read, everyone should just be quiet and listen.
3. Busta Rhymes' "Arab Money"
"Arab Money," released in 2008, was subject to controversy because Rhymes released a remix came that quoted lines from the holy Koran. DJ Steve Sutherland of Galaxy FM was suspended temporarily when he played the song and listeners complained. In interviews, Rhymes said the lyrics actually champion Arab culture:
"Sometimes, people like to twist things. We ain't mockin' the culture. We ain't tryin' to be disrespectful. Ain't no racism going on right here.
"If you listen to the song, you see that we are actually acknowledging the fact that the Arabian culture, a middle East culture is one of the few cultures, that value passing down hard work riches that's been built amongst the family."