Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville’s Dove World Outreach Center has attained worldwide fame in recent weeks due to his plans to burn copies of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, on September 11 of this year. As of September 10th, Jones’ plan to hold the bonfire has since been suspended in favor of meeting with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the plans for the Ground Zero mosque, with hopes to get a location change.
Terry Jones has openly admitted that he has never actually read the Quran, and what he learned about Islam, he gathered from YouTube. While he certainly is within his right to harbor such strong feelings against Islam, when other people’s lives could be at stake, he has to think about the ramifications of his actions. He has written an entire book entitled “Islam is of the Devil”, but has only minimal experience with the religion. I believe that Jones and his tiny church of about 50 members are out for attention, and using the storm surrounding their incendiary plans to get funding, and disappear again once they’ve gotten enough. Perhaps Jones is flip-flopping because he realized the intensity of the mess he caused, and that he and many others could be seriously harmed as a result.

Pastor Jones Talks on Today Show Saturday Morning:

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The event has been condemned by a slew of people on all sides of the political spectrum, from President Obama, who said it would just serve as “a recruiting bonanza” for Al-Qaeda, to Sarah Palin, who stated it would just inflame already tense relations between America and Muslim nations. Numerous Bible verses have been quoted by Christians and Muslims alike in an effort to point out the hypocrisy of carrying out such an event.

I’m all for freedom of expression but the act of burning any holy book from any religion will only cause tempers to flare and extremists to retaliate. Rather than spending time reflecting on the lives lost in the September 11th attacks, the days leading up to the 9th anniversary of the event has been spent steeped in political controversy. Instead of feeding into the incendiary remarks of those who started this storm, 9/11 would be better used memorializing the lives lost on that fateful day, as well as the men and women that went above and beyond their call of duty in the weeks, months, and years following.

Terry Jones, as well as the congregation of Westboro Baptist Church, (well known for its participation in similarly controversial incidents), and Bob Old, a Tennessean Baptist minister, all have the right to burn whatever they want on Sept. 11. However, this will undoubtedly cause turmoil for all involved, for people here, and especially for the Americans overseas on Muslim soil. Hopefully they realize this and observe September 11th in a way that won’t cause even more lives to be lost over religious extremism.