An accompanying flier informed recipients that the Muslim holy book was a “free gift” from the Book of Signs Foundation, which according to this recent Chicago Tribune article “hopes to clear up misconceptions” Americans supposedly harbor about Islam. But the group has a “particularly ambitious” long-term goal, the paper reported:
… that each household in the U.S. possess a Quran, even if the residents are not Muslims.From what we could detect the gift** was not unanimously well-received in our neighborhood. The lady next door approached us we puttered in our front yard after the afternoon rains and asked, her voice heavy with suspicion, “Did you get a copy of the Koran put on your front door?” We said that we had and assured her she hadn’t been precision-targeted for conversion. “Well, it pisses me off,” she said, going on to assert that Muslims in the U.S. are given much wider latitude in their proselytizing than Christians. We had no facts on which to argue or agree and simply said that we guessed that the deliverer had right to drop the volume on our doorstep, as many times as desired, as long as he didn’t make a nuisance of himself. "Yeah, I know," our neighbor agreed. "But it still pisses me off."
Later we read the fine print on the flier and discovered that the gift was not really free and that the Book of Signs Foundation actually wanted---demanded---something of us, something that would not only require an expenditure of our valuable time but our conformance to a tenet of Islam:
NOTE: Please remember that this is a Holy Book and therefore treat it as you would treat your own scripture. While it is our sincere desire to present this to you as a gift, we realize that some may not want the copy. Please don’t throw it. Call us and we’ll arrange to have it picked up or you may give it to your nearest Mosque or another Muslim …”Nah. This still being America, we’ll retain our right to toss our new Koran into the garbage or the recycling bag or pitch it in the barbecue pit next time we’re running low on charcoal. And we suspect our neighbors will do the same.
*With deep apologies to Willie, of course.
**We once again made a run at skimming through the Koran and once again were struck by what an angry load of gibberish it seems to be, with almost every page we opened devoted to dictate after dictate on the necessity of bending to Allah’s will. Here, randomly chosen, from the book of Al-Mujadila, 58:5: “Verily, those who oppose Allah and His Messenger will be disgraced down to dust, like those who were disgraced before them: For We have already sent down clear Signs (Ayat). And the unbelievers (will suffer) a shameful penalty …” Which we suppose is no different than the biblical threat of roasting for eternity in the Lake of Fire, but at least the Bible tells occasionally coherent and interesting stories, and the power of the language in the King James version cannot be denied.