A line in one of Karl Marx’s economic works comes to mind, that goes something to the effect of: “once a man has bought a loaf of bread, it doesn’t matter whether he eats it, or plasters the wall with its slices.”
What was it this time? Ah, someone burnt a Qur’an again. Oh dear. Come to think of it, what is one Qur’an worth? 1,000 hijabs, maybe? Hijab, you know, the freedom that Muslim women must choose. How many hijabs got burnt in Iran since mid-September? I have no idea. 10,000, 100,000? Allah knows best. The hijab is so super-extra-hyper-mega-ultra important in Islam that, er, something was done to some people and what not. Where’s the ummah’s outrage over all those burnt hijabs? Apparently, Muslim demagogues outside Iran are sitting this one out, after an early outrage fizzled. Even fingerwagger-in-Chief Turkey and Crybaby-in-Chief Pakistan have both been uncharacteristically quiet about the wildfire of hijab-burning. The world trembled to the sound of over 1.5 billion Muslims restraining themselves. It wasn't natural. Something had to give.
Enter one cuddly Dane and his Qur’an. The infidel crowd gathered to see someone do something and the Dane did not disappoint. He torched his Qur’an. Health and Safety duly observed, a good time was had by all. But as the ever-amiable Nordics returned to their homely log fires in an orderly manner, things were about to change somewhat. “‘Over 1.5 billion Muslims hurt’: Reaction to Quran desecration in Sweden,” screamed the TRT Erdoğan mouthpiece. “Muslim world has erupted in anger and alarm after Sweden allowed a far-right racist politician Rasmus Paludan to burn a copy of the Muslim Holy book Quran in front of the Turkish embassy building in Stockholm,” clearly too upset to fix the syntax. You would’ve thought that this is nothing that a bit of Shari’a couldn’t sort out.
When one fears that a Koran may burn, get soaked, that a non-Muslim may touch it, or that it may come into contact with some filth, then one must pick it up if there is no safe place for it, even if one is in a state of minor or major ritual impurity, though performing the dry ablution is obligatory if possible.
The Shari’a solution seems obvious: remove all Qur’ans from Sweden before anyone can burn them. Simple enough. But there’s just the small matter of freedom of speech, oh, and jurisdiction, and yes, of course, private property. Let’s just stick to the private property bit for now. It’s a good niche in a crowded Muslims-have-no-idea-how-the-Western-world-works market.
The 1.5 billion tender souls that the Turkish embassy stepped forward to represent seem to have some difficulty with the concept of private property. So to help them integrate, one must caution Muslims against seizing the book from Rasmus Paludan. We call that crime and take a dim view of it. The same goes for mugging, robbery, theft, pilfering, expropriation, that sort of thing. Respect for private property, like free speech and territorial limits to jurisdiction, is a fundamental Western value.
A line in one of Karl Marx’s economic works comes to mind, that goes something to the effect of: “once a man has bought a loaf of bread, it doesn’t matter whether he eats it, or plasters the wall with its slices.” The point being, of course, that something purchased by an end consumer has departed the circuit of capital, and what happens to it beyond that point is irrelevant to the capital that was invested in its production. I just thought I’d throw that in to establish that I do read books, even ones that many would readily burn.
Being a law-abiding citizen himself, one can expect Mr Paludan to purchase, rather than acquire by illicit means, the Qur’ans he so lavishly burns. Since he does so publicly and does not charge for viewing his performance, no one can complain if he did not burn his Qur’an, but burnt his toast instead. Imagine the headline in Christian Post: “‘Over 2.5 billion Christians hurt’: Reaction to bread desecration in Sweden.” It would be as absurd for Christians to go on the rampage because Paludan had burnt the body of Christ, as it would be for Muslims to celebrate victory because he had failed to burn the Book of Allah.
Whatever mystical significance anyone may wish to attach to Mr Paludan’s private property, it remains 100% his property and no one can graft their claim into it, or demand he accord it the reverence they choose to impose on it, let alone demand diplomats immediately drop everything and see to it. To its owner, there is nothing sacred about this particular copy of this particular book, about which there is no doubt. But Paludan full well knows that other people’s copies of the Qur’an are sacred to them. He is able to make a distinction that they are simply unable to make, as is evident from his never burning anyone else’s Qur’an, and their thinking they have proprietary rights to every Qur'an in existence. He understands clearly enough that doing so would, indeed, be desecration. Muslims can rest assured that all their Qur’ans are safe from Paludan, or anyone else who might wish to burn them on Swedish territory. It’s called ‘malicious damage to property’ and is illegal. So if you don't want Mr Paludan to burn any Qur'ans at all, do not sell them to him.
Now if the Turkish embassy, or the 1.5 billion ever-so-delicate Muslims, are so keen to stick their noses into Mr Paludan’s business, and feel compelled to tell him what he may and may not do with his own property, there is a way they could legally do something about it (I’m trying to be constructive here). They could launch a crowd fund and make him an offer for his stock of Qur’ans (being a well-organised fellow, he probably has several ready to hand, just in case his gig reaches escape velocity), and see how they go. The Muslims shouldn’t come off too badly, given their reputation for driving a hard bargain, like getting Allah to cough up 72 virgins and a permanent erection to go with it just for dying, which was going to happen sooner or later anyway, and on top of that, get him to notarise it all in his Holy B—hey, maybe that’s why they’re so freaked out about the whole burning thing! It's the documentary evidence they're going to need to produce in the Afterlife. Shucks! Imagine—no. It doesn't bear thinking about. Heaven is meant to be a peaceful place, like Sweden used to be.
But back to the hustle. Whether Mr Paludan would be interested in selling, or whether the ummah could meet his price, is another matter. Still, I’d suggest it’d be worth a try, even from Mr Paludan’s perspective, if you think about how many Qur’an burnings he could fund from the sale of a single unburnt Qur’an. He dreams of his career going global, well, fortune favours the brave. Who knows, he might even come to rival Roger Waters in Ramallah (I like that. Has a kind of rumble-in-the-jungle ring to it). It is also possible, of course, that burnt Qur’ans become sought-after collector’s items (provided they are certified “Genuine Paludan-burnt,” and not some cheap Chinese fakes with holes in the narrative; you can’t be too careful these days).
But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that the OIC gets behind the crowdfunding to buy Paludan’s books, then chances are he’d end up loaded. He’d be able to buy all the hijabs in Iran to save them from getting burnt and just in time for a special Iran-themed World Hijab Day 2023. I reckon Nike would be dead keen to sponsor the event. What goes around comes around. And who knows, Linda Sarsour might even turn into a nice person…
...naaah! For her it’s all money on her Shari’a credit card, innit.
But wait. The plot thickens. Knowing something about Islamic stuff burning, and bearing no grudges over the ummah not rioting for them in their hour of need, both Ayatollah Khamenei and President Raisi just stepped up to the plate (I know, not quite the right metaphor, but stay with me). Their country in flames from an entire generation revolting against them does not move them like one infidel burning his own Qur’an on the other side of the world does. Meghdad Madadi even managed to photograph Ebrahim Raisi, the butcher of Tehran, close to the tears he doesn’t have.
“A notorious Swedish-Danish extremist, Rasmus Paludan, received permission from Sweden’s government to burn the Muslim holy book in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday,” sobbed Tasnim News Agency, demonstrating once again the Muslim difficulty with the concept of freedom. Being the kind of regime it is, Iran's rulers cannot understand that Sweden has not given Paludan permission to do anything. It is not their place to give or withhold permission from their citizens. They merely affirmed his right to do what he was doing. They struggle with the idea that people in the West do not do what they do because someone orders or permits them to do it. So naturally, they hold the Swedish government responsible and demand them to abrogate their permission, thereby managing only, yet again, to make fools of themselves. Paludan could throw the burning book at such fools. Tragic fools, murderous fools, but fools nonetheless.
I am grateful (and amazed) that Sweden, as raped as it is, is still able to defend our values, though I’m not sure for how much longer. It would be good if timid Western leaders, given their penchant for pre-emptive capitulation to Muslim thugs and bullies, took a leaf out of Paludan’s book with which to guard their private parts as Allah has guarded their private parts, preferably after first securing an assurance from Paludan that he will not set fire to it while it is used for that purpose.