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ACT! for America and “Open the Koran” Day

September 19, 2011, 5:00 pm | Posted by Nick Sementelli

brigitte gabriel.jpgOn the heels of his great investigative report with another example of law enforcement training with anti-Islam bias (this time at the FBI), Spencer Ackerman reports that he’s been receiving e-mails from readers instructing him to “read the Koran” to understand why he’s wrong about his claim that Islam doesn’t endorse conspiracies to destroy America.

I think Ackerman’s response is a good articulation of how ridiculous this common talking point is:

Put aside for a moment the additional presumption that the Koran is a blueprint for war, something like Mein Kampf. That’s noxious enough. But just consider that for centuries, theologians, scholars and believers have grappled with the meaning of the Koran — constructing reconciliatory arguments about its contradictory passages, incorporating counterevidence, arguing with others who give slightly more weight to this-or-that textual nuance. Whole schools of thought develop — often heatedly — about the correct understanding of Islam.

And none of that matters. Because after 9/11, a group of Americans with minimal prior exposure to Islam figured it all out, for all time. They discovered the plot that lurks within the heart of the Koran. They can even quote you passages, like real scholars. The quest for meaning and understanding has reached an endpoint.

Those who tell you, in an accusatory tone, to “read the Koran,” will never have read the Koran. They will perhaps have scanned words that the Koran contains. But they will never have read it. What a shame that they don’t understand the difference.

Of course, the consistency of this talking point in Ackerman’s inbox probably isn’t a coincidence. It’s a key tenet of anti-Islam extremists’ “proof” for their radical theories and is set to earn even more attention as ACT! for America gears up for an entire October weekend of grassroots events focused on this.

Calling it “Open the Koran Day,” ACT! is encouraging its members to host their own events in community venues like churches, synagogues and American Legion halls where they can show an ACT! produced “educational” video. Conveniently, ACT! is instructing its members to prohibit any media or recording of the events and refusing to announce where or when they’ll be happening.

Interestingly, the “secret meeting” format of the events appears to be a departure from the original plan. A fundraising e-mail from February announced the event would involve members handing out literature at public informational tables. When the event was changed to coincide with the anniversary of the Ft. Hood attacks, the public component appears to have been scrapped.

Between ACT!’s troubling track record on theological nuance and this heavy secrecy, I don’t have very high hopes for the content of this video or the productiveness of these events.

Photo: Brigitte Gabriel, ACT! for America founder

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