These People Are Insane. Islam Drives People to Insanity.
“What about that nutty Florida Christian guy? Isn’t he insane?”
No. Based on the evidence at hand, Pastor Terry Jones is perfectly sane. He is just not very smart.
“So, you say focus on Afghani Moslems, Not a Florida Nut?”
No, focus on the United States Army.
You see, more than a year before Terry Jones showed up to burn one Quran, The United States Army burned hundreds of Holy Bibles. Terry Jones, wrong as you may feel he is, has an American Constitutional right to burn a Quran. The United States Army has no right to burn a Holy Bible or a Quran but burn the Holy Bibles they did.
Did General David Patreus Object?
No. he did not.
Did President Barak Obama object?
No, although his condemnation of Jones was more evenhanded than others.
Did Senator Lindsey Graham, occasional Republican, SC, object to the United States Army burning Holy Bibles?
Of course not.
Let’s put this together in chronological order starting with the army.
(CNN) May 20, 2009, Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.
The unsolicited Bibles sent by a church in the United States were confiscated about a year ago at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan because military rules forbid troops of any religion from proselytizing while deployed there, Lt. Col. Mark Wright said.
Such religious outreach can endanger American troops and civilians in the devoutly Muslim nation, Wright said.
“The decision was made that it was a ‘force protection’ measure to throw them away, because, if they did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims,” Wright told CNN on Tuesday.
Troops at posts in war zones are required to burn their trash, Wright said.
The Bibles were written in the languages Pashto and Dari.
This decision came to light recently, after the Al Jazeera English network aired video of a group prayer service and chapel sermon that a reporter said suggested U.S. troops were being encouraged to spread Christianity.
The military denied that earlier this month, saying much in the video was taken out of context.
“This was irresponsible and dangerous journalism sensationalizing year-old footage of a religious service for U.S. soldiers on a U.S. base and inferring that troops are evangelizing to Afghans,” Col. Gregory Julian said.
The military says a soldier at Bagram received the Bibles and didn’t realize he wasn’t allowed to hand them out. In the Al Jazeera video, which shows the Bibles at the prayer service, an unnamed soldier says members of his church raised money for them.
The chaplain later corrected the soldier and confiscated the Bibles, Wright said.
Military officers considered sending the Bibles back to the church, he said, but they worried the church would turn around and send them to another organization in Afghanistan — giving the impression that they had been distributed by the U.S. government.
That could lead to violence against troops or U.S. civilians, Wright said.
Al Jazeera English, a Qatar-based international news service, said its reporters tried to get a response from military officials for its story but were unable to do so.
The U.S. military air base at Bagram is home to thousands of troops from all branches of the U.S. military. The vast majority of the troops do not leave the base and are in various support roles for U.S. troops across Afghanistan.
It was August, 2010 when Pastor Terry Jones showed up. In an ill conceived effort to refocus America on the war than has been brought to us and the force behind the war, Jones announced he would burn a Quran on 9/11/2010. He got “his 15 minutes of Fame,” according Muslim Brotherhood created, Hamas backing CAIR. Jones rescheduled the burning twice before calling it off.
But, March 22, 2011, with zealotry, Jones acted; put the Quran on trial; found the Quran guilty, sentenced it to burning and carried out the sentence. CAIR (smartly) and the CAIR loving media were silent. The Houston Chronicle did report the Jones action:
The controversial Florida pastor who halted plans to burn a Quran on the 9/11 anniversary last year oversaw the burning of the Islamic holy book on Sunday after it was found “guilty” during a “trial” at his church.
“We had a court process,” said Pastor Terry Jones, who denied breaking earlier promises not to burn a Quran. “We tried to set it up as fair as possible, which you can imagine, of course, is very difficult.”
Jones said about 30 people attended the mock trial at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville.
If the jury had reached a different conclusion, Jones said he would have issued an apology for his accusations that the Quran promotes violence.
He said the punishment was determined from four choices — burning, shredding, drowning and facing a firing squad – on his organization’s Facebook page.
Jones considered the burning – which was conducted by another pastor since Jones was serving as the judge – a one-time event.
Jones has launched a new organization, Stand Up America, and plans to protest the Quran, Shariah law and “radical Islam,” and has scheduled an April event in front of an Islamic center in Dearborn, Mich.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, declined to comment at length about Jones’ trial. “Terry Jones had his 15 minutes of fame and we’re not going to help him get another few minutes,” he said.
But when word found its way to the insane Afghanis, real fire and real zeal burst forth:
At least five people have been killed in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar as violent protests over the burning of a Quran by Florida Pastor Terry Jones enter their second day, a Afghan government spokesman said on Saturday. The deaths in Kandahar bring the death toll to sixteen.
A suicide attack also targeted a NATO military base in the capital Kabul on Saturday, the day after protesters overran a UN mission in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killing seven foreign staff in the worst ever attack on the UN in Afghanistan. Four more were killed in the Mazar-i-Sharif riot when Afghan security forces turned their rifles on the rioting crowd.
On Friday, a group of approximately 150 men took to the streets to denounce the Quran burning and set tires alight, smashed shop windows and attacked a photographer, witnesses told Reuters. The reporter was hit over the head, had his camera taken and smashed, and was seized up by protesters who discussed killing him.
Police kept other journalists from approaching the crowd, which was shouting slogans that included “death to America.”
Saturday’s attack on the NATO base in Kabul was conducted by a small group of burka-clad insurgents who only succeeded in causing light injuries to three soldiers, police and NATO spokesmen said.
The spokesman for Kandahar province said the protest was organized by the Taliban who used the Quran burning as an excuse to incite violence in a city where their reach has been curtailed by an aggressive NATO-led military campaign.
“The demonstration in Kandahar was planned by insurgents to take advantage of the situation and to create insecurity,” said Zalmay Ayoubi, spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor. He put the toll at five and said 46 people had been wounded.”
The violence ensuing from Jone’s Koran burning was predicted by former CENTCOM commander Gen. David Patreus in 2010, “Even rhe rumor it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one in Kabul yesterday. Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult.”
Patreus had also warned extremists would use images of the Qaran burning to incite violence.
More protests are possible across volatile and deeply religious Afghanistan, where anti-Western sentiment has been fuelled for years by civilian casualties.
Around 1,000 people protested peacefully in the northern province of Tahar, said Shah Jahan Noori, provincial police chief.
Jones: We Do Not Feel Responsible
Responding to the violence, Terry Jones said Saturday he did not feel responsible for the violent protest at the United Nations compound in Afghanistan or for the deaths that followed. Instead, he insisted the violence proved his point.
“We wanted to raise awareness of this dangerous religion and dangerous element,” Jones said. “I think [today’s attack] proves that there is a radical element of Islam.”
As for the 11 dead, which included seven U.N. staffers and guards, Jones told “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir, “We do not feel responsible, no.”
Obama Decries Both Sides
President Barack Obama said on Saturday the killings in Afghanistan after Jones’ Quran burning were “outrageous” while calling the burning itself an act of bigotry.
“The desecration of any holy text, including the Quran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry,” Obama said in an official White House statement. “However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity.”
“No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people,” Obama insisted. “There is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act. Now is a time to draw upon the common humanity that we share, and that was so exemplified by the U.N. workers who lost their lives trying to help the people of Afghanistan.”
Obama did not address the long, documented history of mass beheadings of non-Muslim captives by Muslims dating back to the prophet Mohommed, who ordered the execution by decapitation of 700 men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina for allegedly plotting against him (Qur. 47:3). Such en masse beheadings have been commonplace even into modern times.
Nor did Obama see fit to address the fact that key-US ally Saudi Arabia employs beheading for a variety of offenses. Over the past two decades, the Saudis have decapitated at least 1,100 for alleged crimes ranging from drug running to witchcraft and apostasy.
Read texture and context as the Oklahoma Daily applies sanity, Oklahoma Daily Editorial Board/The Daily
OUR VIEW: The limits of free speech, Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Last September, pastor [sic] Terry Jones planned to hold a public burning of the Quran, the Islamic holy book. Due to public outcry condemning the Florida pastor, he decided to forgo his book burning.
Fast forward six months later. Jones carried out his public condemnation of the Quran. To further prove his point, he even held a mock trial, which found the Quran guilty of crimes against humanity. The punishment: death by fire.
What Jones didn’t plan for was the extent Afghan protestors were willing to go to condemn the pastor’s actions. After news of Jones’ actions reached Afghanistan, mobs formed protesting the Florida pastor and his congregation. Violence broke out, killing more than 20 individuals and injuring more than 150, all because one preacher chose to burn another group’s religious text.
Despite how deplorable Jones’ actions were and how dire the consequences are for his choices, the burning of the Quran is protected by the First Amendment defining it as symbolic speech.
In 1984, Gregory Lee Johnson stood outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas and set fire to an American flag. Johnson was protesting Ronald Reagan’s platform issues and wanted to destroy a symbol of America in response. Johnson was initially convicted of desecrating “a venerated object,” which violated Texas statutes, according to court documents.
The case was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where it ruled Johnson’s actions were protected as symbolic speech under the First Amendment. The decision includes some very pertinent language in regards to Jones’ actions: “the Government may not prohibit the verbal or nonverbal expression of an idea merely because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.”
We believe a majority of citizens would agree the burning of the Quran is offensive and disagreeable, but even this deplorable act is protected by the precedent set by Texas V. Johnson.
Even though President Barack Obama and U.S. General David Petraeus have publicly condemned Jones’ trial and execution, Congress has yet to address the issue. Meaning, until an amendment is added to the Constitution, the burning of religious texts will be protected by the United States.
As Americans we should be careful how we use our freedoms. Just because we have the ability to burn a religious text doesn’t mean we should use it. As Jones has proven, even though our government will protect our freedom of speech, it does not mean other country’s citizens will look at symbolic speech in the same way.
Instead of using our rights to free speech to push people’s buttons, we should look to extend an invitation to discuss our differences and create understanding among our global community.
While Jones should be condemned for his actions, murdering innocent bystanders only reinforces stereotypes and makes discussing the topic of religious understanding that much harder.
It is outrageous and, in normal times, unbelievable that a brilliant American general would think as Patreus has. He seems not, at the least, to have read Patton or Churchill. And, what shall we conclude about Senator Graham? This would be inexplicable for most Republican Senators —even Senator Richard Lugar. If we understand Graham’s constituency is not so much South Carolina citizens, but, rather, Washington insiders, his statements make some sense. From that point of view, speech should be regulated.
President Obama, perhaps, astonished the most. As he railed against the hapless Jones, he, incredibly, indicted the insane violence that is at the very core of Islam.