Protests Over Quran Burning May Spread Beyond Afghanistan

February 24, 2012

Protests Over Quran Burning May Spread Beyond Afghanistan
Explainer Video
from Video and Combating Extremism through Civil Society

The protests sweeping Afghanistan following the burning of Qurans by NATO forces could spread beyond Afghanistan into other Muslim and Arab countries, says CFR’s Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies Ed Husain.

More From Our Experts

"What often starts in one country lasts in one country for a short period of time," says Husain, and may then "blow up into a wider conflict." This was the case in previous episodes of Muslim popular outbursts, such as the 2005 controversy over a Danish cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, he recalls.

More on:

Afghanistan

Political Movements

Religion

"The Taliban and others got involved in this whole incident and made it part of a wider narrative that America is here to humiliate Afghanis, Islam, and Muslims," Husain explains. The danger is that this narrative appeals to the very audience that the Taliban and others are targeting, he says.

In order to minimize the damage and mitigate the spread of protests, Husain says U.S. and NATO officials must reach out not only to Muslim governments but also to Muslim civil society and religious leaders. The official White House, Department of Defense, and NATO apologies must be widely disseminated, and it must be made clear that "there is no hidden agenda or a mindset of war against Islam and Muslims," he adds.

More on:

Afghanistan

Political Movements

Religion

Up
Close

Explore More on CFR

Germany

President Trump has targeted Germany over its supposed dependence on Russian natural gas, and the proposed Nord Stream 2 is dividing the EU. What’s in store for Europe’s pipeline politics?

Disasters

The U.S. government responds to scores of disasters each year, coordinating closely with state, local, and foreign partners. However, more frequent and severe storms, fires, and floods are straining resources.

Saudi Arabia

If Tesla goes private with significant funding from Saudi Arabia or other foreign investors, it would raise national security and ethical questions.