In the last first decade of this century many worst incidents occurred which changed the world’s environment 360 degree. These guerilla attacks gave rise to fundamentalism in every corner of the world after the silence of 60 plus odd years after WWII & Hitler’s holocaust which had fill the world with hatred all around. The fall of WTC ignite the fire of new dimensions of orthodoxies. Once the peaceful & acceptable nature of Christians in the west has now turned anti Islamic fill with hatred with the eyes of discrimination towards the Muslim world. This has now became a major issue for all the nations of the world especially those who have been affected by the so called famed War on Terror which though started as a retaliation by the west to solve this radical mess but now has turned into an eye sore for the world with lives in millions have been lost on both the sides which just broaden a gap between the two theological worlds. If we people are serious to bring peace & harmony in the world then we together have to change our mind sets & follow the path of true light which never differentiate among the creatures of this world. As just the environment heated the events carried out by the `The Florida based pastor Terry Jones announced on July 12th, 2010 that he was planning to burn the Quran on the 9th anniversary of 9/11. The statement caused many protests and condemnations among not only Muslim organizations, but also organizations such as National Association of Evangelicals, German Evangelical Alliance and International Humanist and Ethical Union. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and various others gave their negative reaction fearing that the event would cause harm and have negative effect on the foreign security forces. President Obama called the burning event a stunt and urged Jones to not go through with the plans. The fear of the western leaders was right as Jones got the much needed publicity which sparked even the calmest corners in the most disturbed areas of the world costing lives of several innocents & risking more of another hundreds. A pastor is a shepherd used in Old Testament where it denotes that he has a responsibility to guide the herds of knowledge seekers & the followers who are following him for his role in their religion. If the leader started to follow the path which not only against the communal harmony but also denied theologically will not only disturbs the peaceful co existence of all the religions but also give rise to social in difference.
Though previous to 9/11, Jones had negotiation conversations with Imam Mohammad Musri and told him that he would cancel the burning if they would move the planned mosque away from Ground zero since no Americans wanted it there. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf rejected this statement and said there were no plans of stopping the construction. So the negotiations between Jones and Musri continued and Jones wished to meet with Imam Rauf who did not want to meet “someone who isn’t committed to pursue peace.” Finally after much pressure, Jones announced on September 10th that he was not going to burn the Quran after all, but had no guarantees for the future. And indeed he was right, for after almost 7 months of silence, Terry Jones got his 15 minutes of fame together with the Christian fundamentalist Wayne Sapp when they burned the Quran in a church in Florida March 20, 2011. It is just an insane behavior of Terry Jones who just wants to force his views on others creating a huge divide in already a much divided society which still struggling to stand on its feet for its peaceful survival. Before they burned it, the Quran had to go through a trial as the law states; Innocent until proven guilty. So these 32 people (including some ex-Muslims who have converted to Christianity) found the Quran guilty of a variety of crimes such as murder, rape, deception and being responsible for terrorist activities around the world. The punishment for these crimes was to be soaked in kerosene for an hour and then burned on a barbeque grill in a ceremony lead by Wayne Sapp. This made me think about which haunts they had in Europe and America in the 1400th-1600th century when women and girls were trialed for being witches and of course they would be burned alive on the stake as a punishment. This is completely unjustified of taking Holy book to trail which from ages since its formation has never taught its followers to take laws in their hands, to hate other religions & deny others of their freedom. Every religion & every book of his teachings never taught against the nature of Almighty & the human society. It we who have divided ourselves with greed, hunger, who seeks the social comforts of the changing environment, human civilizations has been a witness to several such incidents where whenever the hate spreads its roots it had just affected those who are the planters of its seeds. Humans harvest only which they sow & the history is the best place to seek into it. If we still not wake up from our self centered theology then the day is not far when we will turn ourselves into a cannibal beast killing the very existence of the small share of the harmony which still lives in our hearts.
Who is Terry Jones?
Jones is a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri and was born in October 1951. Jones received no academic degree in theology but was given an honorary degree from the unaccredited California Graduate School of Theology in 1983, which now seeks to disassociate itself from him.
In 2002, Jones was fined $3800 by a Cologne court for falsely using the title “doctor” when all he had was an honorary degree from an unaccredited school. And according to the German Evangelical Alliance, Jones was released from the leadership of the Christliche Gemeinde Köln in 2008 due to his indefensible theological statements and his craving for attention and fraud. A leader of the Cologne church said that Jones, “didn’t project the biblical values and Christianity, but always made himself the center of everything.” German press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that church members said Jones ran the Cologne church like a sect leader and used psychological pressure on members, “subordinating all activities to his will.”
In addition to the church, the Dove World Outreach Center maintains an unaccredited boarding school, called the “Dove World Outreach Academy”. The Gainesville Sun has resembled the academy to boot camp as students are prohibited to have family contact from outside, including attendance at family weddings and funerals. They also work without compensation, selling, packing, and shipping furniture for TS and Company, a business owned by Sylvia Jones, wife of Terry Jones.
In 2009, Terry Jones posted a lawn sign which stated in large red letters “Islam is of the Devil” which also became the title of a book published by Jones in 2010. The signs drew protests by local activists and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR responded to another sign which read, “Koran 9:5 Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them.” saying the quote was out of context, and aimed at antagonizing Muslims.
Outcome of the burning
A peaceful protest on April 1st ended up in a bloody attack when 8 people were killed when a group of mob started to attack the UN building in the city of Mazar-e Sharif. There were also many Afghans killed and injured in the protests that have continued every day in Kandahar. To this, Terry Jones has answered that the Church is startled by the outcome but doesn’t feel responsible. The western leaders haven’t said much in order to not give Terry Jones more publicity and attention, but everyone is exited waiting for what will be said and done. Obama has already condemned and referred to the episode as “an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.” President Karzai did also condemn the episode of burning and the attack on the UN compound but the Afghans is not satisfied as they feel they have been violated in the worst thinkable way. The outcome which was expected & feared by the concerned corners has now resulted in much shame for the west which though always preaches its own terms for peace now left with no reasons to act as a centre for justice & peace of the world. The incidents like Quran Burning & its Trail by Pastor Terry Jones will just increase the already widen fault line where as publicizing these incidents & instead of preventing these events if we promote them & avoid reforming our ideological patterns then fighting for democracy, peace & human rights will be a cheating to the world of innocent people who needs the guidance of our leaders to show them the true path for peace & love, sermon for killing Terry Jones will only give rise to hatred & will promote these events which in reality should not happen & must be prevented by all means & by all religions
Freedom of speech
In a democratic society, burning the Quran goes under the freedom of expression and not something that can be prosecuted in court. The caricatures done several years ago were the symbol of the same; to spread hate and discrimination and violating people’s faith, but the burning of the Quran now was done to offend and nothing else. I have always supported the freedom of speech but freedom of speech does not mean that you can insult other religions, cultures or ethnicities. My common sense tells me that I don’t have to agree with everybody, but I must respect others. It’s very sad that innocent people have to suffer because of an ignorant and extremist man who doesn’t consider the safety of others but rather wishes to have attention. USA must also understand that these kinds of stunts does put US’s image lower in the rest of the world and makes them more isolated and target for terrorist attacks. One ignorant man that doesn’t know what he is doing will cost many innocent people their lives.
So what is the benefit of burning the Quran? Did it make Islam vanish? Did it help him in the cause of “fighting Islam,” or evil as Terry Jones likes to refer to Islam as. If Terry Jones had been a Christian man, he would never have insulted a religion with almost 1.5-1.6 billion followers. Christianity is also a peaceful religion that pursues peace and not hate like Jones do. Christianity does not insult other faiths but gives a message to love with your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. If he instead of turning on a great turmoil in the world, had tried to pursue towards peace and understanding in a time where people easily gets divided, he would have earned more and probably get the fame he so deeply desired.
In today’s world there is an urgent need for theological reforms in all the religious ideologies & various schools of thought where just only brainwashed fundamentalism exists. The organizations like Dove World Outreach Centre, Madarsas, Institutions & the representatives should think that if someone is doing wrong & is been hurt then they should come forward to aid him not retaliate in a negative manner which not only disturbs the nations image but also puts a big question mark on the efforts of the peaceful & affected corners of the world where even a minor spark of negativism ignites the emotions of the people & puts the lives in danger not only of the locals but also lives of those who are just doing their but to make this world a peaceful place to live. Now the west & east should also initiate a reform process in its Church & Imam system as if they dictate & support reforms across the world & intervene in the national policies of each other’s then they must first rectify the overall theological system of them which has been affected by their own neo external affairs policies & approach.
Churches & Madarsas are the institutions for our respected religions that have never taught violence & have always promoted peace while asking their followers to preach the message of love & harmony not hatred. So, it’s the duty of every human to promote peace & to bring those people to trail who are affecting our society with their orthodox ideologies which do not have any place neither in any religion nor in the world. If we support freedom of speech as the right for every human then we should also respect that where bearing a responsibility of our own perceptions which not only sour the peace bowl but disturbs the brotherhood of the social nature. Hate speeches & events which support hatred as their core must be prevented or if possible stopped by the authorities responsible for maintaining law n order including those who know of their existence. If something did wrong or gone unjustified by other than it should not be retaliate in the same manner. If our leaders talks about global multicultural society then it is also their duty to protect the dignity of one’s personal society which is free from the dirt of all the radical ideology of orthodox sentiments with no means to serve for the society of their own, creates a world of discrimination which quenches the thirst with the blood of innocent peace makers. Voice is free but not the thoughts which if exposed turns out to be a disaster, so just calms your mind & sees through hearts let see the world with a peaceful thought where there is no violence, hatred & class but just the Almighty which showed always the brighter path.