Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida, is planning to burn copies of the Quran on September 11. He claims he’s doing it to “send a message to radical Islam”. That’s ridiculous! It’s obviously a publicity stunt which is guaranteed to further increase tensions between Christianity and Islam.
I think it’s ironic that the pastor of a church with the words “dove” and “outreach” in its name is planning to do something that could lead to unnecessary violence and possible fatalities. What happened to Jesus’ message of spreading good news around the world?
Mr Jones said his church is praying about the decision, but also said they cannot be held responsible for any violence that might occur because of it. General Petraeus, the commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has warned that burning copies of the Quran will endanger the lives of U.S. soldiers in the country. Fortunately, the church members are taking his views very seriously, and may re-consider carrying out their dangerous publicity stunt.
It’s clear that Muslims (along with Mexicans) have joined a long list of convenient scapegoats that are used to explain the ills in American society. The unfortunate list includes Catholic immigrants, Jews, Communists and African-Americans. Right-wing media outlets like Fox News are constantly portraying Islam as a religion of terrorists when it’s clear that only a small number of Muslims are engaged in terrorism.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center reported that 18% of Americans think that President Obama is a Muslim. It has gone up from 11% in 2009. He is obviously a Christian but I don’t think it should have ever become a major issue. What proof exists that God prefers one religion over another anyway? I hope that Americans use September 11 as a day to bring all faiths together instead of using it as a day to create further tension and distrust.