As you may have heard by now, NATO forces accidentally burned copies of the Qur'an. This single act has led to riots, attacks, and now the deaths of 4 coalition force members.
The holy books, removed from a detention center because of certain content written into the margins, were accidentally burned with garbage, and native workers discovered the charred remnants of the holy scripts, and that is how it all got started.
To understand the magnitude of the situation, you must first understand the significance of this holy book. Unlike the bible, which to many is treated as just another book (physically), the Koran is the direct words of God (Allah), in its most original form. The Koran is considered the least changed holy book over the last 1400 years. The Koran is composed of ayah (verses) that make up 114 suras (chapters) of unequal length. The Koran is God's words, spoken to the prophet Muhammad, through the angel Gabriel, over the course of 23 years.
All the suras, except the 9th, begin with the phrase "Basmala" meaning "In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful".
It is a very intricately written script, in that the decorative Arabic used to write the words cannot even be adequately rendered by computers, even.
The Koran is the most highly respected of anything within the Muslim culture. Any disrespect, even verbal, of the Koran is seen as highly disrespectful of God, himself. The Koran is ceremonially taken care of, and respected. It should NEVER be touched by a non-Muslim. If a non-Muslim must handle it, it is imperative that they use a clean cloth, or clean gloves, when handling it. Muslims do ceremonial washings before they even touch the Koran.
The Koran is kept away from the floor, and feet. It is kept in a clean place, away from garbage, and NEVER brought to the bathroom. It is stored closed. It is highly disrespectful for you to bring animals (ie search dogs) near the Koran. NOTHING is EVER put on top of the Koran. And very important: Non-Muslims should NEVER dispose of the Koran.
This all also applies to any written or printed Koranic phrases, or anything speaking of Allah. We have interpreters to help us distinguish between religious material and other writings.
If a Koran is worn out, and unusable, there are several ceremonial ways to respectfully retire the copy. Muslims will wrap it in a pure cloth and either bury it in a remote location, or set it loose in free flowing water.
Koran desecration is considered blasphemy, and is punishable by Death, in Afghanistan (as well as Somalia and Pakistan).
Since the incident occurred, Muslims across Afghanistan have been rioting, and attacking coalition forces. And by God's law, they are rightful in doing so. There has been almost nonstop attacks on FOBs across the country, and so far 27 Afghans, 2 soldiers, and 2 officers have been killed because of this event.
This incident was similar to someone, say, burning the American Flag at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, but about 10x worse. We have disrespected their Religion, their country, and their God....all in a simple act of ignorance, and a mistake.
We are currently at increased security levels because of this incident. The night it happened, there were nonstop rocket interceptions and explosions here. Now, we have increased weapon levels, and are having ID cards checked everywhere. Rioters tried to storm military bases in Kabul, and we are preparing for more violence here, as well.