The pastor of a small church in Gainesville Florida, USA, has reportedly put his plans on hold to have a day of Qu'ran burning tomorrow on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the twin towers and Pentagon.
As the leader of a small church of 50 souls he would not normally be thrust into the limelight of global media attention. But his stated intention of burning copies of the Qu'ran tomorrow has sparked international rage and concern. Rage from the world of Islam and concern amongst the rest that this may spark unrest, injury and even death. That was brought home to us today in Afghanistan when German troops were forced to open fire to defend themselves against an angry anti-US mob of 10,000 killing one of the protesters. It seems the mob wanted an American flag to burn to show their disgust at the pastor's intentions, so that they could then disperse and go home.
Pastor Jones had, it appeared, relented after being told that the plans to build a mosque at the site of the twin towers had been dropped. But he later claimed that he had been lied to and that the burning was therefore only on hold.
The Pastor, by declaring he would do this has basically pitted Islam against the West. By burning copies of a book that is central to the faith of Islam on this anniversary he is stupidly saying that all Muslims are to blame. Should he go ahead with it then we run the risk of all Americans, if not all westerners, being held to blame for that desecration. His little protest could spark unrest throughout the world. Something the whole world will not thank him for.
If he does not go through with it then Islamic fundamentalists will hail it as a triumph of Islam over Christianity and his little part of it. Something the whole world will not thank him for.
The pastor has now painted himself, and possibly the rest of us, into a very nasty corner. We do not need this type of show-boating from anyone where feelings can run so high so fast.