Let's Punish Pastor Jones
By Looking the Other Way
"Let us hope that the media and Muslims don't react like Pavlovian dogs. Instead, let's do something really surprising: punish Pastor Jones the way he deserves to be and simply ignore him. Imagine if there were a Quran burning, and nobody came."
What to do, when you want to
make your small, insignificant Gainesville Florida church of 30 members a
little better known? Pastor Terry Jones had an idea. On the anniversary of
September 11th, we’ll burn a few copies of the Quran. The undivided attention
of the media to such a provocation will be guaranteed - as will be the furious
reaction of the Muslim world.
It's a simple and predictable
mechanism that has - at least the first part - materialized. Not only in his district,
or Florida, or the U.S. - no - media around the whole world are reporting on
this. The U.S. government, NATO and the Vatican are all condemning the pastor
for his “Burn-a-Quran Day.” Therefore, it's 1 to 0 for Terry.
But what about part two of
his calculation? A detailed look through all of the Arab media this morning
reveals:The reaction tends to zero. Most
are simply reporting comments by U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General David
Petraeus, who declared that the whole affair puts the safety of his troops at
risk, and "not only in Kabul but throughout the world."
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
The pan-Arab daily Al-Quds
Al-Arabi complained with one lone comment, saying it was somewhat
unfortunate that the U.S. government was viewing the episode primarily through
the lens of the security of their troops and not as an issue of disrespect for
a religion. End of Arab reaction. There is nothing along the lines of the
Danish Muhammad cartoons. Perhaps now, a certain process of maturation has begun
and people have realized that they shouldn’t fall for every nonsensical
U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder boiled the whole thing down nicely when he called the idea of burning Qurans
"idiotic and dangerous." While the “idiotic” part is self-explanatory,
the question remains, what is it that makes this potential action so dangerous?
Isn’t it primarily the disastrous role of media, for giving an insignificant
church in an insignificant place much more attention than it deserves?
This affair is not without a
certain irony. A small right-wing Christian group tries to use September 11th
for its own purposes and seeks to make headlines with idiotic Islamophobic
actions. The Vatican, the U.S. government and NATO are doing all they can to
prevent the Islamic world from getting the impression that all of Christendom
and the West is behind activities like this. To that extent, they're in the
same boat as many Muslims after September 11, when they were rendered
collectively responsible for the attacks, and since then have had to
demonstrate time and again that they aren't terrorists. Granted, the scale isn't
the same. There are probably far fewer Quran burners in the West than there are
bin Laden fans in the Islamic world, and the attacks
of September 11th were of an entirely different magnitude than a Quran-burning
ceremony. But in both cases a majority runs the risk of being pilloried for the
deeds of a minority.
But back to Pastor Terry’s
day of action. On September 11th, they'll all be there. The global press and the
cameras will besiege the small town of Gainesville. They will ensure that the images
of burning Qurans circulate around the world, while 30 crack-brained right-wing
Christians dance around the fire. Perhaps then, the second part of Pastor
Terry’s calculation will materialize as well - if the Islamic world protests. That
would make it 2 to 2 to 0 for him.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Let us hope that the media and Muslims don't react like Pavlovian dogs. Instead, let's do something really surprising: punish Pastor Jones the way he deserves to be and simply ignore him. Imagine if there were a Quran burning, and nobody came.
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