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Anti-Muslim Activists Gingerly Deplore Jones’ Koran Burning

By Robert Steinback on April 4, 2011 - 6:54 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Anti-Muslim activists are walking an ideological tightrope, condemning the actions of the Florida pastor whose burning of the Koran on March 20 set off murderous riots last weekend in Afghanistan, while condemning President Obama for not emphatically reaffirming the pastor’s right to do what he did.

Terry Jones, the non-ordained “pastor” of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., held a mock “trial” of the Koran two weeks ago, during which the holy book of Islam was found “guilty” of several “charges.” The stunt drew little attention domestically, but Jones posted a video on his website showing a Koran being burned as part of its “sentence.” The online spectacle didn’t escape the notice of Muslim leaders in Afghanistan.

Various news reports said that between 22 and 24 people have been killed in the spasm of violence in Afghanistan since Friday, when a mob overran the United Nations compound in Mazar-i-Sharif, killing at least seven Western U.N. workers. An estimated 150 people have been wounded. Obama has been burned in effigy by angry Afghan mobs.

On Monday, a television reporter asked Jones if the event was worth it “even at the expense of an American soldier or two or ten.” Jones replied, “I would have to say yes. Perhaps in the long run we have saved hundreds or thousands of lives. …We do not take that lightly, but we can’t allow it to eat us up.”

Some American anti-Muslim activists were careful not to endorse Jones’ actions – apparently aware that any association with him could give the appearance of callousness toward the innocent victims of the rioting. They acknowledged Jones’ right to express himself even in such a tasteless and disrespectful manner – and yet criticized Obama for describing the tastelessness and disrespect of Jones’ actions.

In a statement issued Friday, Obama said, “The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry. However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity.”

That was enough of an opening for Pamela Geller, executive director of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). On her blog, Atlas Shrugs, Geller’s latest headline shrieked, “Obama Sanctions Islamic Blasphemy Laws in Brutal Slaughter of UN Workers, Condemns Koran Burning ‘Bigotry.’”

“It seems President ‘Constitutional Lawyer’ needs lessons in America 101. Seriously. Who is he working for?” wrote Geller, sarcasm turned up to high. “The President of the United States must protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, despite his Islamophilia or preferences of the sharia. Privately he can think whatever he wants, but his job and what he was elected to do was protect our freedoms, despite his personal preferences.”

Her SIOA co-founder, Robert Spencer, took a somewhat more sedate approach to making the same point.

“Obama condemns Qur’an-burning and calls Qur’an-burning murders ‘outrageous.’ He offered no defense, however, of the principle of freedom of speech,” he wrote Sunday on his blog, Jihad Watch.

A second post at Jihad Watch, by author “Marisol,” addressed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s request that Congress condemn the burning – and took a shot at General David Petraeus.  Petraeus told Reuters, “We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Koran.” Marisol replied that Petraeus’ comment “appears to validate Afghans’ behavior.”

Geller, Spencer and other anti-Muslim activists distanced themselves from Jones last summer when he announced plans to stage “International Burn a Koran Day” on Sept. 11, 2010. Jones’ plan did a “ grave disservice” to the cause of seriously informing people about the threat of Shariah Law, Geller wrote.

Spencer agreed “‘International Burn a Koran Day’ . . . is a gift to Islamic groups who would so dearly love to portray all of us who criticize and question Islamic teaching (and triumphalist mosques) as frothing reactionaries.”

Following an international outcry, including appeals from Obama, Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – who placed a personal phone call to Jones warning that American troops could be endangered by the stunt – Jones backed down. Demonstrations in Afghanistan then resulted in five deaths even though the event was canceled.

The media largely ignored Jones’ follow-up event, which he called “International Judge a Koran Day.”  But Jones, anticipating a guilty verdict, had promised to desecrate the Koran in some fashion afterward. He apparently kept his word.

Jones said his church has received more than 300 death threats since the riots in Afghanistan began.

The Southern Poverty Law Center designated SIOA a hate group in 2011. Jones’ church is also designated as a hate group.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    First of all there was no UN in those days, and the Pagans in question were just as happy to slaughter the early Muslims. There was a war going on.

    And in case you hadn’t heard, nobody elected Osama bin Laden to speak for Muslims, and the school from which his ideology is derived is not recognized by any official school of Islamic jurisprudence. Hence, Jews and Christians are not considered “Pagans” by modern Muslims. Adherents of Osama bin Laden have also been guilty of attacking Shiites, considering them to be polytheists. Obviously this is not a mainstream Islamic view.

  • Jonas Rand

    I am indeed familiar with the context of the verse, and to what “pagans” actually referred, but that is still genocidal (the UN defines genocide thusly: “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”). It was stating that this mass slaughter was permissible after a truce between the Pagans of Mecca and the Muslims ended. But Osama bin Laden quoted it in his fatwa, which is where I found it, and apparently decided to expand the definition of “pagans” to include “Jews and crusaders”, or at least draw a comparison between the two (?) I was simply stating that one might as well blame the Qur’an, if one is to blame Terry Jones, since one is no more culpable than the other (assuming that the killers are not beyond thinking of non-Muslims as the modern day “pagans”).

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Qur’an for saying “fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them” (Qur’an 9:5). ”

    Obviously you take the Islamophobes word at face value. I suggest you look up not only that verse, but what comes before and after it, and the historical context in which it was set. It was specifically in reference to the Pagan Meccans who had persecuted and attacked the Muslims.

  • Jonas Rand

    The Qur’an burning IS freedom of speech. Skinnyminny mentioned some examples that show something of a double standard as far as free speech goes, but the censorship of those artists, as well as that of anything determined “indecent” by the FCC on the radio for 16 hrs a day, is deplorable too. There is no reason for Jones to be arrested; we have the FIRST AMENDMENT (free speech) in this country, unlike some Christian theocracy run by the paedophile-enabling, woman-hating pope, or the Taleban and their disgusting, misogynistic, bloody interpretation of the Qur’an. Exercise it to the fullest extent! The killers were responsible for their own actions, the idiotic Terry Jones is as guilty as the Qur’an for saying “fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them” (Qur’an 9:5). God never told them in their dreams, no matter what the Jamaat-e-Islami fanatics think, that the UN was like the pre-Islamic pagans, and that they had an obligation to slaughter them like it was an eternal Mediaeval battle.

    If Terry Jones knew anything about his own religion’s relationship with Islam, then I think he wouldn’t burn the Qur’an. Many of the prophets/characters in the Bible are the same as in the Qur’an, such as Nuh (Noah), Jesus or Isa (a. s.), Ibrahim (Abraham). His action is a display of hate and ignorance, and there was nothing wrong with the President’s condemnation of it. However, calling for any punishment is censorious and tyrannical. We are not, I repeat, NOT, in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and we do not have to comply with their cruel, Wahhabi shite.

  • Jack Knowlton

    I’m an American who has lived and worked in the Middle East. I personally know a lot of Muslims. I think Americans are confusing the stupid Qu’ran burning with freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is certainly a right in many parts of the world, but it is not a concept familiar or practiced by most people in the Middle East. This is all about respect for one another. Every Muslim I know has respect for Christianity and Christians, no question. They have their lunitic fringe elements, we have ours. I think if more Americans actually try to travel beyond their own borders and know more of the world, we would have less of this in-your-face George Bush “bring it on” Teaparty macho nonsense and more respect between peoples.

  • Jordan

    You know, you could have shortened that a lot by just saying ‘Abolish the First Amendment, freedom of religion is wrong, we should be a Christian theocracy’. O.K., now explain to me how your theocracy would be better than an Islamic theocracy, like Iran (pre-emptive response, it wouldn’t see: Empire of Spain, Holy Roman Empire, the Inquisition). Ohh yeah, and another interesting point, the majority of the Founding Fathers of the United States were Deists, not Christians.

  • skinnyminny

    Here is something that can finally answer some of your questions about what rap artists went through in reference to my comments above – Ice T was also the center of this. He released this album that addresses some of this, ‘Iceberg/Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say,’ he released this October 1989, this entire album centers on the 1st Admendment.

  • skinnyminny

    BTW, I’m not saying what these rappers have said/done is right, I’m just pointing out that there is a discrepancy. For instance, one of my favorite songs by Christopher Cross, “Ride Like the Wind,” this song talks about a guy on the run, packing, and trying to run from the law by going to Mexico. So, technically, I guess the argument could be, is this song encouraging people to flee and go South of the border? Look at how many people that are on the run and live in Central America and Mexico!

  • skinnyminny

    I guess it’s meant to be left alone (not being sarcastic). However, you will probably be able to find info on the group Screwball, allegedly questioned/arrested for singing the song, “who shot rudy.” Then also look at Eric Clapton’s remake of Bob Marley’s, “I shot the sheriff,” which became an instant worldwide bestseller for Clapton, yet, I don’t think you can buy Ice-T’s song, “Cop Killer,” imagine that! Imagine if a rap group sang Bob Marley’s song!

  • Ian


    Sorry, but I can’t find either of those things. Are you talking about the 1994 hearings or the ones that took place a few years ago?

  • skinnyminny


    6-19-1989 concert – performing this song on stage. Also, see the congressional hearings, arrest warrant issued for Dr. Dre…

  • Ian


    The members of N.W.A. were never arrested for their song “F*** tha Police”. Their record company received a letter from the FBI protesting the song, but it contained no threats of legal action.

  • http://None DorisV

    Pastor Jones is just a simple idiot. Did he invite the press to this event or did he and his followers but the video on the internet? I agree with what Obama said this time. What the Pastor did by burning the Koran could be called “inciting a riot”. As for the folks who killed the UN workers, their actions were wrong. They are probably considered heros in Afghanistan. We just need to get out of there and let them solve their own problems.

  • Brian Bushart

    When Americans of Christ are no longer to be understood by our press and our politically correct constitutional rights of our own sovergn given land, are being granted to what many would consider an enemy within our own emborderment, our rights of religous freedoms, instead of the reality based inclusion which are our own, are being attacked at the very heart of the American inclusion by a force within our country known of an insurgent level of a foriegn belief structure trying to rise over the top of our own, This, others view as a victory over Christianity. It would never have been allowed twenty years ago, and should be being put upon regularly by our people of faith as exactly what it is, not what our leadership holds in stance of a position, commonly known, as just another stance which has been deduced strictly to be of its programmed rating capablility for their own next election. This is obviously not the case with all polititions, while at the same time has a share greater of its stupidity level inclusion, than I’ve personally seen it made of any availability in our country since my own birth.

  • skinnyminny

    It should also be noted that a retailer, that’s right, a retailer was arrested for selling the album by 2LiveCrew.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a problem when the police feel they are targeted on a national level, but, it’s also a problem when something like what Jones did turn into an international event that affects not only military, as was the case at the UN.

  • skinnyminny

    ModerateMike & Jordan,
    Arrests have been made in some instances such as this, i.e. the rap group N.W.A. was arrested for singing a song called F*** the Police, a rapper in Florida was arrested for a cop song, and Charles Manson was arrested for being the mastermind of the Manson family-it is alleged that he didn’t kill NE1, but, his followers did.

  • Jordan

    ““It seems President ‘Constitutional Lawyer’ needs lessons in America 101. Seriously.” Ironic, coming from a women who twice tried to revoke the First Amendment.
    “…but have a right to exercise his 1st Admendment rights.”
    Yes – as does President Obama, and the SPLC – which is why Mr. Jones was not arrested. Also, defence of free speech from a person who doesn’t believe in freedom of marriage choice is equally ironic.

  • ModerateMike

    That the President refrained from calling for Mr. Jones’s arrest is sufficient acknowledgement of his free speech rights as far as I am concerned. He neither requires nor deserves any other praise or recognition, especially if he is going to do something that even anti-Muslim groups realize could incite violence.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Bye Bye Obama is 2012. Mr. Jones went over the top, but have a right to exercise his 1st Admendment rights.
    As far as the soldiers go. They are briefed about the possibilitiees of attacks by the enemies.