Koran burning protests: What should the U.S. do next?
Los Angeles Times, World Now blog
February 28, 2012
Quoted: Aisha Ahmad, research fellow, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program
Topic: Koran burning protests
“Afghans are very religious people, and the desecration of the Holy Koran is an extraordinary offense to Muslims. However, these riots are symbolic of a much larger discontent with the international presence in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is horribly ineffective and corruption is uncontrollable. After a decade of trying to reconstruct the Afghan state, the international community is trying to make a dignified exit and declare some form of victory. But everyone knows that the U.S. and NATO are leaving and that the enduring legacy of the multibillion-dollar state-building agenda is destined to be chronic insecurity, rampant unemployment and a narco-criminal economy. The burning of the Koran simply adds insult to injury to a battered and impoverished population. Symbolically, it set fire to the one thing that gives Afghans hope and succor in the valley of death that we helped to create: their faith.”