Murders don’t ‘prove’ Jones’ point
Published: Sunday, April 3, 2011
Updated: Sunday, April 3, 2011 14:04
Over the weekend, things took a turn for the worst in Afghanistan starting with the killings of United Nations workers on Friday followed by violent protests on Saturday.
These murders and protests came following the news that Terry Jones, a Gainesville pastor, set fire to a copy of the Quran after giving the book a "trial" and finding it guilty of five "crimes against humanity" on March 20.
Jones' religious intolerance has led to the loss of more than 20 people's lives, seven of them international staff members at the U.N. headquarters that was mobbed.
A religious holy book is not something to be tampered with even if you don't agree with its teachings. It's blatantly offensive to large groups of innocent people and it's just plain unnecessary.
These killings and protests are a direct response to Jones' actions and we believe the least he could do is swallow his pride and issue a public apology — anything to stop the loss of innocent lives. What's more: Jones will not take responsibility for the murders and said the entire ordeal just proved his point that radical Muslims are a problem.
On the other hand, we can't just blame Jones. Although these rioters in Afghanistan should be upset, they have no right to be killing people who were in no way involved with what one man and his small nondenominational church did.
Reacting violently is not the way to promote a religion that already has a bad reputation in the Western world.
Most of the protesters were members of the Taliban, the Islamist group that ruled Afghanistan before Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001. Taliban members don't represent the average Muslim, just as Pastor Jones doesn't represent the average Christian. In both cases, we can't judge an entire group of people based on the actions of a small group of extremists.
Our military has fought for years to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaida. It doesn't help much if the ideas the troops are trying to promote overseas aren't being practiced back home.
In America, everyone has the freedom to practice their own religion and it's only fair that we respect whichever religion they choose.
There are ways to properly express dissent that are just as effective and don't involve malicious acts. In every instance, violence only begets more violence.
There are instances of violence in the Bible just as there are in the Quran. Most Christians and Muslims alike don't abide by the violent passages and instead focus on the larger, more general principles promoted by the religion.
The whole incident was entirely avoidable and it's absolutely unacceptable that so many people have been killed over differing religious ideologies.
We hope to see Pastor Jones issue an apology or at least show some sort of remorse for his attention stunt. On top of that, religious leaders in Afghanistan also need to step forward and publically condemn these acts of violence that continue to fuel prejudice toward the Muslim community.