“Artemis Gordon Glidden” at The Iconoclast quotes an AP article on the amazing worldwide campaign against Pastor Terry Jones, along with her italicized introduction and comments.
The more I think about the way Pastor Terry Jones is being treated, the more I support him. Even if he is a Christian jingoist or supremacist over Islam, as is suggested in the article below but which I have seen no evidence of, I support his right to treat Islam the same way that every other religion in the U.S. is treated. [LA replies: that’s a weak point; obviously the scriptures of other religions in the U.S. are not being burned. However, the rest of Artemis’ comments are better than that, which is why I’ve posted them.] The article is by Antonio Gonzalez and Mitch Stacy for AP:
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—FBI agents visited Thursday with a minister of a small Florida church that plans to burn the Quran on Sept. 11, as public safety became a paramount concern and President Barack Obama added his voice to the chorus of opposition.
Elsewhere, hundreds of angry Afghans burned an American flag and chanted “Death to the Christians” to protest the planned burning of Islam’s holiest text.
Obama urged the Rev. Terry Jones to “listen to those better angels” and call off his plan.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Obama said what Jones proposes “is completely contrary to our values as Americans. This country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.”
[ … ]
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he would closely monitor what happens Saturday at the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville to try to ensure people are safe. U.S. embassies around the world will be doing the same after being ordered by the State Department to assess their security. Officials fear the burning could spark anti-American violence, including against soldiers.
“In addition to being offensive, the Gainesville protest puts at risk those brave Americans who are fighting abroad for the freedoms and values that we believe in as Americans,” said Crist, who is running as an independent for the U.S. Senate.
The international police organization Interpol issued a global alert to its 188 member-countries determining “strong likelihood” of violent attacks if the burn goes forward. Interpol said in a statement that Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, called the organization and asked it to warn other police forces around the world of an increased terror threat.
Have we gone nuts? General Petraeus, the Mayor, the Governor, the F.B.I., the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, the entire government feels the need to condemn a man who is doing something that is within the law? When passions are so inflamed that the lawful actions of one pastor of one small church in Florida are enough to spawn worldwide Interpol alerts and embassy closures, there is something seriously wrong, and it cannot be laid at the feet of Pastor Jones. His actions are merely pointing out what was already true: that Muslims worldwide are on a hair-trigger, ready to respond with mass violence on the slightest pretext, and our government will take whatever actions necessary to placate them.
[ … ] At Wednesday’s news conference, Jones was flanked by an armed escort and said he has received more than 100 death threats since announcing in July that he would stage “International Burn-a-Koran Day.” The book, according to Jones, is evil because it espouses something other than biblical truth and incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims.
I disagree that the Qur’an is evil “because it espouses something other than biblical truth”, if Pastor Jones actually said that. But the rest is demonstrably true.
[ … ] [Gainesville] City officials were increasing security, but wouldn’t go into detail about how many extra officers will be used, saying only that they were coordinating with other cities and tallying expenses.
“We are sending a bill for services to the Dove World Outreach Center. We’re tracking our costs,” said city spokesman Bob Woods. “I’m sure the cost will be substantial.”
If someone exercising their right to free speech is obligated to pay for the security of the entire city and thereby driven to bankruptcy, then how is that free speech? Why is the Christian church being punished for the threats of violence made by Muslims? The Dove Outreach Outreach Center is not threatening Gainesville. Who is, and why aren’t they being billed?
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, e-mailed The Associated Press to say “images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan—and around the world—to inflame public opinion and incite violence.” It comes as an emotional debate continues over a proposed Islamic center near the ground zero site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the pastor’s plans were outrageous, and along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, urged Jones to cancel the event.
Not just the Democratic administration has weighed in. Ex-Alaska governor and former Republican candidate for vice president Sarah Palin said in a Facebook post that although people have the constitutional right to burn the Quran, doing so would be an “insensitive and an unnecessary provocation—much like building a mosque at ground zero.”
Conservative radio and television host Glenn Beck wrote in an Internet blog that burning the Quran is like burning the flag or the Bible—something people can do in the United States, but shouldn’t. Legal experts have said the burning would likely be protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech.
But people DO burn the flag and the Bible. That is the whole point. Flags and Bibles are burned and soiled and mocked, and Glenn Beck, Gen. Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sarah Palin, et al are silent. It is only when Islam is the target that suddenly our rights could be exercised, but shouldn’t be. Why is that? I believe that what is unique about Islam is it’s propensity to violence, and it is the fear of that violence that is causing us to give Islam special protection that no other group enjoys.
This is becoming a disgraceful spectacle, and I’m not referring to Pastor Jones.