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Filed under Opinion

Haley’s Comments: Quran burning on Sept. 11 brings unnecessary harm to all creeds

The Dove World Outreach Center, a church out of Gainesville, Florida, has planned an “International Burn a Quran Day” to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the New York and Washington attacks of Sept. 11.

The church and event are led by Pastor Terry Jones. Weekly, Jones posts YouTube videos and blogs explaining countless reasons why people should join him on Saturday in burning a Quran. Outside of the Dove World Outreach Center, Jones has posted three signs which read “Islam is of the devil,” and sells T-shirts and mugs bearing this mantra.

There is nothing good about this Quran burning event. Jones and his followers would probably cite the first Amendment, proclaiming their freedom of speech and the right to assemble. Yeah, yeah … I get it. You have those freedoms; we all have those freedoms. But just because you have the freedom to do something, it doesn’t mean you should do it.

When asked by the New York Times about his knowledge of the Quran, Jones replied “I have no experience with it whatsoever. I only know what the Bible says.”

On Sept. 11, not to mention on every Sunday of the year for his congregation, a mob of people will blindly be following a man who has no knowledge of the people he’s persecuting. How can you claim something is of the devil if you don’t know anything about it?

I don’t know anything about football, and I do think Packers fans are annoying. Hmm … maybe I should start a blog devoted to my ideals that Packers fans are of the devil and host a national burn an Aaron Rodgers jersey day. (Yes, I do realize that football is not a religion. I do however feel that quite a few football fans out there have yet to come to this realization.)

What Jones is doing is using his religious beliefs as an excuse to spearhead a campaign against Islam, claiming it is his Christian duty to spread the word of God. He could easily “spread the word” in a more peaceful manner, but he instead chooses a route that is extreme, therefore harming millions in the process.

Jones claimed the event is meant to send “a clear warning to radical Islam that they are not welcome in America.” This is not a legitimate excuse. It is not just radicals who will be affected by this, but all who practice Islam.

I can’t help but wonder if his “get out of here Muslims” campaign is really just a cover-up for other motivations.

It sure is getting him a lot of publicity. That’s great for Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center. He’ll probably add a few members to his congregation, and even make a few bucks.

Stop by Dove’s website (www.doveworld.org, if you’re interested in taking a look) and you’ll be greeted with the option to donate money towards International Burn a Quran Day. It’ll help pay for all the Qurans Jones will be burning … or he could just send away for one of the free copies of the Quran that countless websites offer.

All this Quran burning event serves to do is spread more hate on a day that is already such a sensitive topic for a majority of Americans. Not only is he stirring up the emotions of those who already subscribe to his beliefs on Islam, but he is destroying a day that should be spent commemorating the lives lost.

Jones is also frustrating Muslims around the world. And how could he not? He’s created a holiday that’s only purpose is to destroy a sacred text that millions of people follow.

How would Jones react if an Islamic group decided to host an international burn the Bible day? Moreover, how would the American public act?

I think that such a group would immediately be deemed a terrorist organization by the United States. And if such an event happened within the United States, you can be sure that authorities would be on top of it and arrests would happen before a single book was burned.

What is it that makes a Christian group more protected than an Islamic group? A majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians, sure, but the United States has no national religion. Yet minority religions unceremoniously get the short end of the stick. Is any one religion really better than another?

I look at it this way. Most of us strive to do as much good in our lifetimes as possible, with the hope of some sort of reward or salvation. We just happen to choose different paths to get there. Why try to block someone’s path? You will hinder not only their advancement, but yours as well.

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