Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Islamophobia Part 2: Pastor Plans to Burn Qurans

During this holy month of Ramadan, a storm of anti-Muslim sentiment has been brewing and bubbling over. First, there is the controversy regarding the proposal to build a Muslim community center near ground zero. Bigots are also opposing the construction of masjids (mosques) in other parts of the country. At least one masjid was recently vandalized. Then, there was the brutal stabbing of a Muslim cab driver. Now, as Ramadan ends, Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida plans to protest the 9/11 terrorist attacks by burning Holy Qurans. He said that the burning is to remember the victims of 9/11 and to send a message to radical Muslims. He claims that his message is not a message of hate. Yeah right! This is coming from a man who says that “Islam is of the devil.”

Jones’ actions are misguided and wrong on so many levels. I don’t where to begin. All Muslims are not responsible for not 9/11. All Muslims should not condemned for the actions of a tiny extremist minority. All Muslims believe that the Quran is the final revelation of God. By burning the Quran, he is sending a message of hate to all Muslims, not just extremists. This is a major sacrilege that will outrage the entire Muslim world.

His proposed action is a sacrilege against Christianity and Judaism as well. As Imam Plemon el-Amin stated on CNN, the Holy Quran honors Jesus, Mary, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael and the other prophets of the Bible. The Quran confirms other divine revelations including the Torah and Gospel. Although there are some differences between the three major monotheistic religions, there are many similarities. I would hope that no informed, pious Christian or Jew would deliberately destroy the Quran. Similarly, no pious Muslim would destroy the Bible.

Jones’ plan will not accomplish anything constructive. He is simply throwing gasoline on a raging fire. He is perpetuating the enemy’s false propaganda, that American is waging a war against Islam. As Gen. David Petraeus’ warned, the pastor’s plans “could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan.” Under such circumstances, his actions are essentially treasonous.

In addition, the burning will exacerbate tensions here in America between Muslims and Christians. Instead of helping to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Jones is imitating their intolerance and ignorance. The burning of books is a common course of action for dictators and tyrants. Such actions should not occur in a democratic society.

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