Insulting a religious book

Q282 :Is a Muslim liable to punishment if he tears off the Bible during a quarrel with Christians?

A282 : A Muslim is required to treat the followers of other religion with respect. Although he does not agree with their practices or with their concepts, he must keep that disagreement within the limits which do not cause them to be offended. Allah gives us an express order in the Qur'an not to abuse verbally the idols which disbelievers associate as partners with Allah. This is mentioned in verse 106 of Surah 6 which clarifies the reason for that prohibition, explaining that if we were to hurl verbal abuse on their idols, they will retaliate with hurling verbal abuse on Allah Himself. Mistaken as their concepts are and idolatrous as their practices may be, every community considers their actions sound, wise and correct. It is needless to say that this prohibition applies to everything that the followers of other religions consider as sacred. With Christians and Jews, we certainly have a special relationship, they follow religions which have divine origins contained in revelations vouchsafed by Allah to His two great messengers, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them both. Although we know that distortion has crept into the revelations contained in the Torah and the Gospel, they remain sacred to the followers of these two religions. If a Muslim tears off the Gospel or the Bible, he should not wonder at a retaliatory action which may involve tearing off the Qur'an. He would have invited such an action which is bound to cause him great distress in addition to the fact that it is totally uncalled for. A Muslim must always remember the Prophet's definition of a strong person. He says: "A strong person is not the one who can overcome others physically, but the one who controls himself when angry." You say about the punishment for such an action. Most offenses do not have specified punishment. It is left to a Muslim judge to determine the punishment in accordance with the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. If a Muslim is brought before an Islamic court for having torn off the Bible during a quarrel with a Christian, he is certain to be punished either by a fine or imprisonment or both, or indeed any other punishment the judge may decide.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )