Monday 13 September 2010

Atheist burns Koran and Bible

    A lawyer who videoed himself smoking what appeared to be joints made with pages from the Bible and the Koran expects to lose his job at a Queensland university.
    In the video, posted on YouTube, Queensland University of Technology staffer Alex Stewart compares cigarettes made with pages from the two holy texts.
    In the clip, titled "Bible or Koran - which burns best?", the professed atheist says burning religious books is no big deal and people need to get over it.
    But the Queensland University of Technology, which employs Mr Stewart, is not impressed and has demanded he explain himself.
    "QUT is tolerant of all religions and does not condone damage to any religious artefacts," QUT registrar Dr Carol Dickenson said in a statement.
    "QUT will seek to meet with the staff member as soon as possible to discuss the situation."
    Mr Stewart, an assistant organiser with a group called Brisbane Atheists, was not at his Brisbane home on Monday but in a message on the group's website he said he expected to be sacked.
    "I'm screwed. I think I will lose my job over this. Damn it," he wrote.
    The president of the Islamic Association of Australia said Mr Stewart's motives were deeply hurtful to Muslims but his future was for the university to decide.
    "We condemn it and our feelings have been hurt by this man," Sheik Muhammad Wahid told AAP.
    "There is no need for this kind of thing, just to create disunity and disharmony among people living in Australia."
    He urged Muslims to turn the other cheek.
    "I urge my fellow Muslims to abide by the laws of this country and not take any action which breaks the law," he said.
    "These types of actions should be condemned by the wider community. He must be asked what was his agenda, what was his purpose? Maybe he was not of sound mind at the time."
    Queensland police said they were not (not) investigating the matter.
    In the video clip, Mr Stewart - who does not identify himself as a QUT staffer - says the Bible and the Koran are "just books".
    He refers to the furore sparked in the United States by a controversial pastor, who had threatened to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
    "With respect to books like the Bible and the Koran, whatever, just get over it," he says.
    "That said, I don't think it's completely appropriate unless it's done for a good purpose, which I've done today."
    He gave the Bible a seven out of 10 for its burning qualities, and said it was better than the Koran which left him feeling sick.
    As he smokes part of a page from the Koran, he ponders: "I wonder what Mohammed would have thought about this. Is this profanity, is it blasphemy? Does it really matter?"
    Mr Stewart has told The Courier-Mail the video was a joke and he does not do drugs. The green substance featured in the video was actually grass clippings, he said.
    He defended the stunt, saying basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech, should not be threatened simply because someone might be offended.
    Comment was being sought from the Catholic church.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment