Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Terry Jones versus Rest of the World

Upright Opinion
Terry Jones versus Rest of the World
By Saeed Qureshi
September 10, 2010
A single fanatic Christian did what the entire Christianity in the present times has not been able to do: to blackmail the civilized world, especially traumatize the Islamic countries by audaciously trumpeting that on September 11, he will burn the Quran, the holiest religious code of the 1.25 billion Muslims around the world. Terry Jones the pastor of the non-denominational Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida singlehandedly, placed the United States government in the most embarrassing and awkward position and exposing the Americans all over the world and especially in Afghanistan to grave dangers to their lives. He has symbolized himself as the vanguard of those extremist elements that detest other religions especially Islam and the Muslims living in the Pluralistic society of the United States.
It is unbelievable that in 21st century an odd, isolated, unknown clergy has so much audacity to defy the American constitution, spite the Islamic world, and go ahead with an action that was patently outrageous and provocative, unchristian and un-American. After all Quran has been there all these centuries and yet what impelled a deranged pastor to rock the entire world with his insane obsession. The burning of Quran was aimed at expressing the hate and bigotry of the ultra right Catholic Christians towards Islam. That satanic spirit revives the hatred and an insatiate thirst to kill opponents in faith, as was rampant in the Middle Ages and during the crusades’ times.
The fervent imploring and the passionate requests and supplications of president Obama, the celebrated leaders of Jewish community and that of Christians, the serious concern of the Gen Petraeus and even the condemnation of Vatican Pope failed to convince Terry Jones to change his insidious plan. One may call it freedom of doing anything in the United States. However, Terry was not arrested on the charge of infringing the first amendment of the American constitution that guarantees freedom of practicing religions.
He was not pacified by any appeal until the secretary Defence called him and apprised him of the harmful ramifications to the American forces in Afghanistan. Robert Gates’ telephone call somehow persuaded the stubborn pastor to postpone his diabolic action on the condition that it was subject to the relocation of the Islamic center near ground zero to a new place. He has still kept the option of burning the holy book if that condition was not met.
I f this is not fanaticism or terrorism in board day light then how would someone define this most sinister act of an individual that would neither promote Christianity nor annihilate the erase the Muslims from the surface of the earth. Where do we draw a line between the most sought after terrorist Ben Laden and the present day lone Muslim basher? The American ethos and culture of religious freedom seems to be tattered by one individual who was deaf to the frantic calls of the entire world not to go ahead with his monstrous propensity. Muslims cannot respond by burning Bible because it is their sacred book also. Most of the substance especially pertaining to the ancient prophets is almost similar to what is presented in Quran.
The paramount question is: why this endemic and deep-seated hatred for Muslims in this country that is famed for it religious freedom and tolerance. In the wake of this earth-shaking event, Terry has fired the first glaring salvo towards fomenting clash of religions. Would it be in order if the American government enacts such a law that would prohibit demonstration of such brazen bigotry about other religions? This is imperative because if someone denigrates or derides others’ religions then the law should move against such a person.
If tomorrow, someone else like Terry Jones also replays the same sordid episode then will it not foment the same crisis over and over again? What is going to happen to the sanctity of the American constitution and the American spirit of liberty, openness, and egalitarianism that the American society so grudgingly protects? This tendency of professing or demonstrating hatred against other faiths must be nipped in the bud, before it assumes endemic proportions. It would be a kind of poisonous proliferation posing a new threat every now and then for the minority communities in this America.

(The writer is a freelance journalist writing mostly on International Affairs with specific focus on Pakistan)

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