their papers, the applicants introduced and brought to my attention verses of
the Quran I was unaware of. In other words, the Quran says that the Gospel is
part of the Quran, and that if I burn the Bible, I'm also burning the Quran. That
man (Jones) can go burn the Quran - he is also burning the Bible. Luckily they
stopped me from doing it."
African Businessman and a Muslim, Mohammed Vawda
If a Johannesburg court hadn't
stopped him, Mohammed Vawda would have declared today "Burn a Bible Day"
- and torched Bibles on the lawn of Beyers Naude Square - right in the middle
of the Central Business District.
The Mpumalanga businessman
explains that this would have been in retaliation for U.S. Pastor Terry Jones, who
today called off his plans to burn Islam's holy book, the Quran, as the world
marks the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Instead on Friday - during
which Muslims celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr,
the festival marking the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic
calender - Vawda found himself in the Johannesburg High Court, after a group
from Gauteng called the Scholars of the Truth successfully obtained a
restraining order to stop his controversial act.
"Pastor Jones's actions
were inciteful," said Vawda, 38, of the Society for the Protection of our
Constitution, who insists his plan was not to antagonize Christians in South
"He angered me and
outraged me. My actions were aimed against him. I wanted to stop him somehow. He
didn't listen to his own president (Barack Obama)."
Attorney for the Scholars of
the Truth, Zehir Omar, said, "The court accepted my submission that it is
unlawful for someone to burn any holy scripture considered sacred by any member
of South Africa's community. It furthermore accepted my submission that freedom
of expression is limited if the exercise of one's freedom of expression will
evoke offense in members of our community."
In a bizarre twist, Omar
represented Vawda's colleague Willem Harmse earlier this year. Harmse tried to restrain
Vawda from using the words "shoot the Boer" on posters in a planned
march against crime. Singing the words, Omar said, increased the number of farm
murders. Vawda maintained, however, that the song meant "kill apartheid."
[Editor's Note: The "Boer"
is a reference to the descendants of Dutch-speaking settlers - members of South
Africa's White minority].
In Friday's proceedings, court
papers cited parts of the Quran that highlight the importance of respecting
both the Bible and the Jewish Torah.
"In their papers, the
applicants introduced and brought to my attention verses of the Quran I was unaware
of. In other words, the Quran says that the Gospel is part of the Quran, and
that if I burn the Bible, I'm also burning the Quran. That man (Jones) can go
burn the Quran - he is also burning the Bible. Luckily they stopped me from
doing it. Now I have renewed respect for the Gospel and actually embrace it.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
"I think anyone who
believes in the word of God should accept all other words of God, too. America
must stop allowing itself to be prostituted in this way and must begin to enact
laws against people burning holy books."
Attorney Omar said Muslims
were concerned about Vawda's plan. "There is a general feeling among
Muslims that it's wrong, blasphemous and un-Islamic. Burning the Bible is
really not a view shared by a majority of Muslims."
He said the court's judgment
set a precedent that would prevent anyone in South Africa from burning a Bible,
Quran or Torah.
"Obtaining the order in
our court today is a message to Americans, and shows them legal ways to prevent
such conduct in the future."
He claimed that America is
living in the Dark Ages.
"I'm amazed that Americans
couldn't quickly obtain an order against him (Jones) - that it allows itself to
be held hostage by one person who for more than a month has threatened to burn
Moulana Ebrahim Bham of the
Council for Muslim Theologians, said he, too, would condemn any action that results
in Bibles, or any holy book, being set alight. The council also condemned Jones'
threat as a "publicity stunt."
"We told our
congregations not to retaliate in the same manner. This is a fringe element. We
don't want to give it undue publicity," said Bham.
Help Support Worldmeets.us
Worldmeets.us is a non-partisan, volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization that operates solely in the public interest. The opinions expressed in articles posted by Worldmeets.us are not necessarily those of Worldmeets.us, its sponsors or its volunteers.