Frank Kaufmann, director of the Office of Interreligious Relations for the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, offers a unique -- and much appreciated -- perspective on the Newsweek's inaccurate reporting on alleged abuse of the Qur'an at Guantanamo Bay:
What the Newsweek blunder showed, more than confusion over the use of sources, was the simple fact that almost no non-Muslim Americans naturally know how the Koran truly functions in Muslim life and piety. Why wasn't our ignorance of the one of the most basic facts of Muslim piety the immediate focus of our national conversation?
The most frightful revelation however shown by the "Newsweek horrors" is that the cost of cultural and religious ignorance in a world of instant communication is at an all-time high, and can no longer be ignored or left unattended. The solution to this problem does not lie in blaming newspapers, interrogators, or militants. It is a complex problem that should be approached by all communities and leaders unencumbered by the poison of blame and politicization.
Until the alliance between the United States and forward looking Muslim thinkers, countries, and leaders is one that transcends military purposes, and grows to become one of mutual embrace, and until the centuries long slide of modernity into the secularization that misses religion as vital to the human experience is reversed, we are bound to continue suffering from the results of self-imposed ignorance.
We may not always have Newsweek to blame for our own sins. What happens if the next half sentence of ignorance is my own?
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