This is not a joke. If it were, it would be a sick one, but the reality is much, much worse. Indeed, a mob of over 20,000 people went on a rampage because a copy of the Koran was burned in Florida.
You may recall that there had been a bit of a brouhaha over a church in Gainesville, Florida threatening/promising to burn a Koran to mark the anniversary of 9/11 last year, but they did not. That pesky little fact did not stop this from happening:
[snip] Last year, even though Mr. Jones called off his burning of the Koran, a subsequent wave of protests at NATO facilities in Afghanistan led to at least five deaths. In several of those incidents, Taliban agitators played a role, allegedly spreading rumors that the Koran burning had taken place. However, the Taliban have had little or no presence in Mazar-i-Sharif, one of the most peaceful places in Afghanistan. [snip]
What? Nothing even happened and they killed a bunch of people? Holy crappydoo.
That being said, on March 20th, Rev, Jones and his flock did burn the Koran. Bear in mind, this is a small, way out on the periphery church we are talking about here. Honestly, why do a bunch of Afghans even CARE what this whacko down in Gainesville is doing?
But care they do, and so far, they have killed 7 - SEVEN - UN workers and 5 Afghan as a result. And they weren't even Americans. Nope:
[snip] The dead included at least seven United Nations workers — four Nepalese guards and three Europeans from Romania, Sweden and Norway — according to United Nations officials in New York. One was a woman. Early reports, later denied by Afghan officials, said that at least two of the dead had been beheaded. Five Afghans were also killed. [snip]
Yes, they went on quite the rampage over this event that happened 11 days ago in a small city in Florida. Holy shit.
(EPA / April 1, 2011)
I'm sorry, but that is just insane. It is just insane. Never mind that it is a bit of a violation of the Big Ten to commit murder, but these people were spurred to action by a sermon in a mosque! I am not kidding you:
[snip] The incident began when thousands of protesters poured out of the Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif after Friday prayers and attacked the nearby headquarters of the United Nations, according to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for Gen. Daoud Daoud, the Afghan National Police commander for northern Afghanistan.
After disarming or shooting the United Nations compound’s guards, the crowd surged inside. Mr. Ahmadzai said that eight of the foreign staff workers, whose nationalities were not known immediately, were killed by gunfire, and that two others were captured by the mob and beheaded. Other reports said that the operations center was burned down as well. [snip]
Oh, but wait - it gets better:
[snip]A prominent Afghan cleric, Mullavi Qyamudin Kashaf, acting chief of the Ulema Council of Afghanistan, called for American authorities to arrest and try Mr. Jones as a war criminal.
The Ulema Council recently met to discuss the Koran burning, he said. “We expressed our deep concerns about this act and we were expecting the violence that we are witnessing now,” Mr. Kashaf said. “Unless they try him and give him the highest possible punishment, we will witness violence and protests not only in Afghanistan but in the entire world.” [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
Let me get this straight - these Muslim mobs have murdered over 17 people, including foreign nationals, 5 at the very notion of a Koran being burned, and 12 because one was burned, and they want the MINISTER to be arrested on war crime charges?
That simply defies all logic, common sense, humanity, and religion. That is just insane. Insane. That's right, I am calling this mob of 20,000 people who attacked guards at the UN because a book was burned insane. I'm sorry, this is not just insane, but crazy, nutso, whacked out, fruit loopy, or any other applicable term. How else to descrivea huge mob went on a rampage at a UN facility over the burning of a book. Yes, it was a religious text, but still - like I said, to kill people over one book being burned is just crazy. Not to mention doing so last year at a NATO facility (about which I had heard nothing) over the RUMOR of a Koran being burned.
I know that this is not the first instance of something like this, fatwas have been called for people from Salmon Rushdie to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for depictions or even descriptions, of Islam, or Muhammad. And I know that Rev. Jones had been warned about burning the Koran out of fear of repercussions.
But why do we have to kowtow to people who would commit murder over something so relatively minor as burning a holy book? Why do we allow them to dictate to us what we can and cannot do for fear of violence? Isn't that an extreme form of bullying? Why do we allow it?
Instead of expecting everyone else to walk around on eggshells lest we set them off, how about we expect THEM to not fly off into a murderous rage at the least perceived slight? Why don't we tell THEM it is unacceptable for them to KILL someone over a cartoon? Or a book? Good grief, if all religious groups reacted the same way, we would be in for a world of hurt. Can you imagine if Christians flew off into a murderous rage every time there was a piece of artwork that depicted Jesus in less than a positive light? Good grief, it would be a whole different world, that's for sure.
Why are we allowing these radical religious extremists to dictate to us what we can and cannot do? Why are we not demanding that they stop acting so violently or else THEY will face consequences? When we constantly pander to the lowest common denominator, it brings us all down.
Whether one agrees with what Jones did or not, the response in Afghanistan is just crazy. Murdering people over a burned book is insane.
That's what I think, anyway. What do you think?
*Update: Sunday morning, and the protests over the burning of one Koran continue to rage. More people have lost their lives as a result of the crowds being whipped up. Here is more:
[snip] The Taliban said in a statement emailed to media outlets that the US and other Western countries have wrongly excused the burning a Koran by the pastor of a Florida church on March 20 as freedom of speech and that Afghans "cannot accept this un-Islamic act."
Nato officials re-iterated their condemnation of the Koran burning in an apparent attempt to quell the rising anger.
"We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Koran," said the statement issued by military commander Gen. David Petraeus and the top Nato civilian representative in Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill.
"We further hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the Holy Koran, are not representative of any of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people," the statement said.
On Saturday, US President Barack Obama extended his condolences to the families of those killed by the protesters and said desecration of the Koran "is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry." But he said that does not justify attacking and killing innocent people, calling it "outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity." [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
Frankly, I don't cotton to being lectured by the TALIBAN. Nor do I appreciate that NATO and General Petraeus are not putting the blame where it belongs - those who are engaging in these murderous rampages. For THREE freaking days now, they have been raging. That is an extreme, absurd, deluded response by the Afghan people, and to try and appease them in any way, shape, or form, after they are committing these kinds of atrocities is immoral, and reprehensible. We cannot, CANNOT, allow these radical extremists to dictate what we are able to do here in the United States of America. WE CANNOT.
This is so insidious, this twisting of blame and responsibility, the bending over backward to not offend those who hate us. Whether or not the minister should have burned the Koran may be debated, but HE did not kill anyone. These people did. And they alone bear responsibility for their heinous actions and attacks. No one MADE them kill someone.
UPDATE 2: A new report claims Pakistan fanned the flames of anger over the trial and burning of the Koran by Rev. Jones. Apparently, the media wasn't really covering what he was doing, but a little news brief was picked up by Agence France Presse, thus beginning Pakistan's pushing this to international heights. Rev. Jones has been tried by a Sharia Court, found guilty of blasphemy, the punishment of which is death.
Here are some of the highlights of how Pakistan pushed this:
[snip] On the evening of March 20, the “trial” went ahead with Jones presiding. It ended with another pastor setting alight a kerosene-soaked copy of the Qur’an.
A brief Agence France Presse (AFP) report said that although the event was open to the public fewer than 30 people attended. A subsequent local media report said the only journalists who turned up on the day were an AFP stringer, several students and an unassigned photographer. A video clip was posted online, however.
The following day, the Organization of the Islamic Conference – the bloc of 56 Muslim-majority nations – issued a statement warning about “unforeseen and volatile consequences of such outrageous and irresponsible acts that could hurt the deep seated religious sentiments of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.” Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva drew its attention to the Gainesville incident.
On March 22, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, in a speech to the federal parliament, condemned the incident “in the strongest possible words,” and Pakistan’s foreign ministry called the burning a “despicable act.”
Dozens of reports on the Qur’an burning appeared in Pakistani media outlets on March 22-23, but the story received negligible coverage elsewhere in the Islamic world. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
There is much more to this, but it seems apparent that this incident was blown into international proportions by Pakistan, then onto even less stable countries like Iran and Afghanistan. And now, over 20 people have lost their lives. That is just appalling, and our leaders need to stop kowtowing over this, IMHO, that is.