I think Pastor Terry Jones, leader of the miniscule, 50-member, extreme right-wing Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, and brain behind "International Burn a Koran Day," was out for some cheap publicity at the cost of being totally un-American, unpatriotic and un-Christian. Just ask Hillary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus. They've said the move places American troops abroad in harm's way and have called it "outrageous," "disgraceful," and un-American. I'd add "ignorant" to those qualifiers, considering he hasn't opened the Quran once and doesn't even know what it says.
"If there's any good to come from this, may it be a wake up call to all Americans to see the insanity and danger of prejudice and ignorance," says Jonathan D. Scott, author of The Woman in the Wilderness, a historical novel about the search for religious freedom in pre-colonial America. "American government was virtually founded on the principle of religious freedom and tolerance, and to deny that is to deny one's patriotism and birthright."
"International Burn a Koran Day" is scheduled for September 11, to "warn Americans about the dangers of Islam." A reader, Aisha Kureishy, sent me a letter that she has written to the pastor. Her words echo my sentiments, so I've reproduced it below:
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).
"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and in the race for a garden wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous -- [the righteous are] those who spend whether in prosperity or adversity, who restrain anger and who pardon all people. For God loves those who do good" (Quran, 3:133-134).
Dear Dr. Terry Jones,
I write this letter as a message of peace. I am an ordinary woman, a loving mother, and most importantly, a caring American Muslim. My voice may be tiny and distant, but it is not weak or insignificant.
Dr. Jones, the world is shocked to know about your magnitude of unawareness towards Islam and its Holy Book Quran. Muslims have been deeply hurt by your ignoble and sordid plan to burn the Holy Quran on September 11, 2010, in honor and remembrance of all the people who lost their lives that day. There were also Muslims in the Twin Towers also who died that day. You will not be honoring them or any non-Muslim, for that matter, by burning a sacred text.
The Holy Quran belongs to all the Muslims of the world just like the Holy Bible belongs to all the Christians of the world and not just some of them. Such a relentless statement to punish the Muslims by burning their Holy Book indicates deliberate disrespectfulness towards a sacred text. You said in your CNN interview that you are a devout Christian and a true American, but your September 11th demonstration does not prove you to be either. Indeed your Dove institute will be reflecting its true colors to the world by rendering such heart-breaking activities. In this act you will be leading the nation towards intolerance. Instead, I hope this act raises people's curiosity about the Quran and leads them to the Truth that it is.
You claim that Quran is a book of the devil and deception. However, Quran discusses numerous Prophets of Judaism and Christianity such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Lot, Isaac, John and even Jesus to name a few. Unfortunately neither the Torah nor the Bible recognizes the Quran as the last Book of God. However, the Quran unquestionably authenticates the revelations of both predecessor books. If you still choose to burn the Holy Quran, I would kindly ask you to at least be respectful by removing all of Quran pages that also mention any Prophets of the Bible. In fact you should definitely remove the pages that mention Jesus, Mary and Angel Gabriel. The entire Chapter 19 of the Quran is titled and based on the Virgin Mary. She is our mother too. With such strong similarities in our faiths, would you consider Christianity "from the devil" as well then?
In the Quran, God declared and promised that His message will not be altered, and that it is an eternal message affirmed onto His creation. The Quran is a miraculous Book that calms the disturbed mind, mends a broken heart, purifies a corrupt body and relaxes a disturbed soul with lessons of compassion, faith, patience, hope and forgiveness and respect for all.
Islam presently is the second largest religion in the world. Despite being regularly ridiculed by false accusations and speculations heightened by the media, it continues to grow rapidly. Islam is an authentic religion that gives precise answers and states detailed facts in its Holy Book for the reader. It was revealed as the last book after the Bible from God to the last Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, through Angel Gabriel.
Dr. Jones, burning the Quran may give you and your flock temporary satisfaction, but that will deepen the wounds of all American Muslims post 9/11. Even after nine years, Muslims still face discrimination and hate crimes. For example, Mr. Ahmed Sharif in New York was recently stabbed, a Muslim woman with a headscarf from Dallas was shot in the throat and paralyzed, another Californian Muslim woman was shot while walking her toddler, and Farhan Khan from Allen, Texas, was tortured and murdered by two men in a park. These are just to name a few. The American Muslims are trying very hard to mend all broken hearts since 9/11, but your atrocious act will certainly ruin any progress that has been made thus far.
Peace is never acquired through hatred and humiliation of people's religions or their sacred texts. Someone of your stature and omnipresence must overcome all the misunderstandings towards Islam and Muslims. As a devout Christian, you can set a global example of respect, tolerance and forgiveness to be emulated by the people. Choose love over hate and forgiveness over punishment. I hope that you will find my request to be the most humble and sincere.
Really, Pastor Terry Jones? What would Jesus do?