The American-distributed Qurans would be gratefully received. Americans, who come from a country awash in books, simply don’t realize how important books (especially "the book" for Afghanistan’s Muslims) are to a people that has very few of them. Even prayer leaders and imams often do not have a copy of the Quran, especially in remote regions. Instead, they memorize. Indeed, people who memorize the entire Quran are revered in Afghanistan and other Muslim-majority lands. And these people, these legendary memorizers, are not as rare as you might think. I’ve met several in my travels across the region.
Why he thinks this will help calm the country:
When you add the traditions surrounding a holy book to the perceived rarity of that book, you have an explosive combination. No, that doesn’t excuse murder and violence. But these traditions and perceptions of rarity, which combined to cause the current crisis, can be used to undo it. Passing out Qurans to Afghan civilians, if done reverently, would work to build trust and restore order.
(Photo: A protester holds up a copy of the the Koran during a demonstration in front of the US embassy after Friday prayers in Kuala Lumpur on February 24, 2012 following the news over the burning of Korans at a US-run base in Afghanistan. By Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images)