Open letter to pastor planning Quran burning for 9/11
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
I don’t know if he’s merely one more hate-mongering headline hunter, or some seriously misguided zealot, but I do know this: that this coming weekend, at the strike of a match, a Florida pastor could well ignite a global conflagration the likes of which the world has never before experienced.
This Saturday, on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City, Terry Jones, pastor of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., is hosting an “International Burn a Quran Day.”
He’s doing it as a warning, he says, that Islam is a “religion of the devil.”
The Quran (spelled also Qur’an, Koran and Kur’an) is the sacred book of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.
Comparing Islam with Christianity, “if Christ is the Word of God made flesh, the Koran is the Word of God made text,” explained Toby Lester, writing in the Jan. 1999 issue of Atlantic Monthly, “and questioning its sanctity or authority is thus considered an outright attack on Islam as Salman Rushdie knows all too well.”
Perhaps Pastor Jones is beginning to know all too well, too, how Muslim hardliners feel about his outrageous plan?
Several thousand demonstrators marched on the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, this past weekend, condemning his insult to their religion.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, 500 demonstrators burned the Florida pastor in effigy and demanded the death of U.S. President Barack Obama, who, some believed, is complicit in the planned Quran burning.
This has prompted Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to express deep concern for the welfare of his troops.
Christian leaders around the world are also condemning the Quran burning. The National Association of Evangelicals warned Pastor Jones that his disrespectful actions would only worsen already tense relations between Christians and Muslims.
The Catholic Archbishop of Mumbai, India, accused Jones of being “irresponsible” and making statements that give rise “to extremism and hatred.”
According to a Sept. 3 article by Chad Smith in The Gainesville Sun, leaders of the three Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam “stood together on the steps of (the Gainesville) City Hall at noon (last) Thursday as a show of solidarity” in their challenge to Jones’ provocative actions.
I, too, will add my voice to theirs in an open letter to Pastor Jones. I do this as a Christian who in no way can agree with his reprehensible actions, and as a Canadian concerned with repercussions in our own land:
© 2010 Warren Harbeck