The Guardian reports on the fate of a bizarre relic: a Qur'an written in Saddam Hussein's blood.
Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein had sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur'an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight - locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant's legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.
The article goes on to discuss how the Iraqi government is dealing with other monuments and relics of the dictators reign.
I suspect, though, that the Blood Qur'an will prove to be a unique problem for them. It combines in one relic an object of the most intense veneration for Muslims, the Qur'an, with a bodily substance closely identified with the deposed and executed dictator, his blood. Here the political pressure for its preservation and for its destruction will both be felt most fiercely.
Books have often functioned as relics of venerated figures that rival in importance their bodily relics. But in this case, the book IS a bodily relic.