Last week, President Obama offered an emphatic "our bad" over a recent NATO Quran-burning that resulted in increased violence in Afghanistan. In the face of violent demonstrations and civilian and troop deaths, an apology was a rational course of action. Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum predictably disagreed.
"There was nothing deliberately done wrong here, this was something that happened as a mistake," Santorum said in an ABC interview, and Santorum believes that mistakes do not need to be apologized for. So the lesson here is if you accidentally spill something on Rick Santorum, and he complains, you should look him in the eye and tell him to go fuck himself.
All that said, believing that all Muslims are extremists is just as ignorant as saying that all Christians are Grand Inquisitors, or Rick Santorum supporters — whichever's worse; however, if you violently riot and shed blood over someone burning your book, you might be an extremist. (Incidentally, that's an unused joke I wrote for Jeff Foxworthy.)
For example, "One protester, Mohammad Hakim, said if U.S. forces can't bring peace to Afghanistan, they should go home." A fair point — this war has gone on far too long. He continues, "They should leave Afghanistan rather than disrespecting our religion, our faith." Again, Mr. Hakim is in concurrence with most people regarding the war. He then says, "next time they disrespect our religion, we will defend our holy Quran, religion and faith until the last drop of blood has left our body." Wait, what? Pursuing peace and spilling drops of blood are… different things, yes? That's extremism. That is a departure from rational thought.
What confuses me is that the books were originally burned because they had extremist messages written in the margins by Parwan Detention Facility detainees. Desecrating the Quran is considered an act of intolerance and bigotry. So why is writing in the margins of a book not considered desecration? I'm still pissed about the time I lent out my copy of Othello and got it back with "He's black!?!?" scribbled in the margin of Act IV, Scene II. Also, the appropriate method of disposing of a desecrated Quran? Burning it. Hmm.
With people dying and… being burned, books being burned should not incur this much violence. This is not book burning in the sense of censorship. No one is prohibiting the practice of Islam here. This is a matter of a thoughtless, insensitive act carrying way too much weight in real, physical affairs.