Muslims around the world have protested the burning of a Quran (Koran) by Florida preacher Rev. Terry Jones by killing 20 people and injuries dozens of others. It is a perfect matching of religious fueled hatred. Jones burns the Quran to protest what he views as a violent, intolerant religion and radical Muslims then killed scores of people to protest such desecration. I will say it again: these people have a lot in common.
Many of the deathes occurred in Afghanistan after our good friend Afghan President Hamid Karzai helped things along by highlighting the Florida incident. The dead include United Nations workers. Karzai has been using any opportunity lately to denounce the United States and express sympathy for the Taliban — while insisting that we continue our spending of billions in his country.
Most Afghans were unaware of the incident on March 20th until Karzai made it the focus of a recent speech.
Jones is an example of how anyone can call himself a preacher and the head of a church — even though he seems to have only a handful of followers. He has expressed no regrets: “It was intended to stir the pot; if you don’t shake the boat, everyone will stay in their complacency.”
The fact is that Jones’ hateful act is protected speech in this country. Despite Obama’s support for an international blasphemy resolution, we remain committed to free speech — even speech that others find insulting and sacrilegious. He was roundly denounced in his country and has lost most of the small number of people in his church. Yet, I will not join those blaming him for this violence. It is a mistake to blame unpopular speakers for such mob responses. It is the fault of these murderous extremists. What Jones is responsible for is his own act of hateful desecration. Instead of showing that it is Jones who is the extremist and the symbol of intolerance, these Muslim extremists have played into dreams of anti-Muslims like Jones.