Looking away is the right reaction

[Toronto Star, Canada]



Die Tageszeitung, Germany

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."


By Karim El-Gawhary



Translated By Carol Goetzky


September 9, 2010


Germany - Die Tageszeitung - Original Article (German)

An Afghan man demonstrates against the U.S. and pastor Terry Jones of the Dove Outreach Center, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, Sept. 9.

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Leaders around the world warn against Quran burning, Sept. 10, 00:01:18RealVideo

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."



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 provocation. 


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.



Folha, Brazil: Pastor Jones Takes Journalists for a Ride

Der Spiegel, Germany: Daughter of Terry Jones Asks Dad: 'Papa, Don't Do It'

Der Spiegel, Germany: Jones Condemned By His Ex-Church in Germany

Telegraph, U.K.: Can One Idiot Really 'Threaten World Peace'?

Telegraph, U.K.: 9/11 Quran Burning: What U.S Law Says

Daily Star, Lebanon: Quran Burning a Threat to America and the World

Rheinischer Merkur, Germany: Cordoba House: Let it Be a Triumph of Tolerance

ABC, Spain: Cordoba House: The 'Impossible Mosque'

ABC, Spain: The Mosque Near Ground Zero: A Case of Insensitivity

La Opinion de Zemora, Spain: Cordoba House and 'Hussein of Yankeeland'

Guardian Unlimited, U.K.: The Poison Behind the Ground Zero Mosque Furore

The Telegraph, U.K.: The Depressing Debacle of 'Ground Zero Mosque'

BBC News, U.K.: Mosque Dispute Exposes Obama on Two Sides


Bookmark and Share


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.   



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.



blog comments powered by Disqus







































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, September 10, 9:34pm]


Bookmark and Share