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Letters to the Editor

Defiant act

April 8, 2011

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To the editor:

We have heard about the burning of the Quran by a Rev. Jones in Florida. I must report that he did nothing that Muslims don’t do with a Quran that is old, worn out, incomplete and useless. In his act of burning it, he has made himself old, worn out, incomplete and useless. A true man of God, regardless of the faith he practices, would never destroy a book revered by another religion. A real man of God would have self respect and fear of God.

I don’t believe that Rev. Jones understands what that means. He knew that his foolish action meant that a few hundred people would die; some of his own faith. As a Muslim, I am not angered or astonished by his actions. Instead, I am weary of the constant bashing of Muslims and fear of Islam. Yes, we know there are those who have hijacked it and have committed terrible and despicable crimes against others. We hate that, too. But all of us, like millions of other Americans, want to live in peace and harmony with our neighbors and are good citizens in this land of the free.

We totally and unequivocally disparage the actions of those terrorists who have stolen our religion. But Rev. Jones, in his ignorance, has burned our holy book as a show of defiance. Like all actions we make, it is God who shall judge on what is right and what is wrong. It promised that in the book he burned.

Comments

Gandalf 3 years, 3 months ago

Hey Omar, would a true man of faith riot and kill because someone burned a quaran? How about the bibles that are burned in Saudia Arabia? Should christian's riot and kill muslims in the U.S. in retaliation?

Sorry bub, I"m not real fond of burning books, flags or draft cards but it is protected free speech in the U.S. That is something that is missing in muslim countries.

P.S Sharia law will never be valid in America!

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grammaddy 3 years, 3 months ago

Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Why is it so hard for some to respect others?

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

"Others"? Given the actions of the US in the Middle East, we aren't barbarians? Geez. Get a conscience.

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grammaddy 3 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Cait48- two wrongs still don't make a right. This man knew what he was doing. His intention was always to incite violence on the other side of the world.

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seriouscat 3 years, 3 months ago

Please do not construe my response as any kind of support for what he did. The guy is an idiot, just like the Phelps clan. BUT what he did IS protected free speech- as it should be for now and evermore. He is being openly criticized and should be...but he has not been arrested and no one should ever be arrested for burning a book, a flag, a picture, or any other symbolic object.

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seriouscat 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't know...this is one of those areas where freedoms intersect and things become interesting...

firstly, I am proud of our media for at least at first, ignoring the act.

second, when Theo Van Gogh depicted Mohammed in a cartoon, that action incited people to violence. As I'm sure you are aware, he ended up being murdered. He knew he was taking a big risk and he did it anyway.

Salmon Rushdie still has death threats made against him over the Satanic Verses.

We simply can't tell people that they can or cannot say something critical of any religion or idea without being tyrannical.

How can we hold true to freedom of speech and tell people that they can't openly criticize Islam? Where do we draw the line?

Unless someone is directly telling people to "go out and do violence" we cannot blame them for how others react to their speech, even if we find it repugnant and hateful.

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repaste 3 years, 3 months ago

"Yes, we know there are those who have hijacked it and have committed terrible and despicable crimes against others. We hate that, too." Reading comp 101. ps. bub.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

You obviously aren't a historian of the Church.

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Alyosha 3 years, 3 months ago

How do you know they "do nothing to stop it"? What are your sources and insights into that claim? Do you know the letter writer, and follow them around, and monitor their every move, and thus know that they do "nothing"? Or are making claims without actually knowing whether what you say is true or not?

Also, you claim "He's assuming his god is the only one that matters."

Are you unaware that the God of Abraham is the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims? Christians in Arab-speaking countries call God "Allah" just like the French call God "Dieu."

Your post shows some fundamental misunderstandings of the 3 major monotheistic religions.

Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same God.

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Katara 3 years, 3 months ago

Not really. The God part is the same. It is the Messiah part that is the difference.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Jews don't believe that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah.

That's the difference.

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Brock Masters 3 years, 3 months ago

Omar, I agree with some of what you wrote and disagree with other parts.

I disagree that his actions caused the death of anyone. He expressed an opinion, albeit poorly and inappropriately, but the deaths were not caused by his speech, but by those that reacted to it like animals.

I suggest that you get used to the bashing Muslims and the fear of Islam as it is not going to stop until Muslims in the name of Islam stop terrorizing the world. Muslims, not all Muslims, but some Muslims are indeed our enemy and the reason they want to kill us is in part due to the fact that they believe that their religion demands it. So, what do you expect from people - that they will be silent and pretend that Muslims are not trying to kill us.

I do agree and understand that it is not all Muslims and that there are many good people who practice Islam. The religion is not evil, only those that bastardize it are evil and it happens with Christianity too.

I suggest you continue speaking out against the radical Muslims and their heinous acts of violence so America knows that there is another Muslim voice that doesn't condone what some radical Muslims are doing.

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

Couldn't agree more.

Jones did this purposely, knowing it would incite violence. As far as I'm concerned, this makes him just as guilty of murder as if he had pulled the trigger himself.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

"Muslims are indeed our enemy and the reason they want to kill us is in part due to the fact that they believe that their religion demands it".

I, too, have read the Quran cover to cover and find NO passage where IT states to kill anyone except those who oppress and kill US. We have the right of self defense, just like Christians, so your statement is wrong and the exact problem Muslims face in America. We don't want to kill anyone, like it says. So why hate Muslims? Do you hate all Christians for the henious bombing of the Federal Building in OK City?

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Brock Masters 3 years, 3 months ago

No, the statement is not wrong because those who attack and kill Americans do believe that their religion demands it. You admit that they are to kill those that oppress them and they believe America is a great oppressor.

So whether or not they are correct in their belief, it is still their understanding or misunderstanding of the Quran that drive them to kill us.

Timothy McVeigh didn't commit the Federal bombing in the name of Christianity so it is not the same. And I don't hate Muslims, even those that are intent on killing us.

I judge people by their actions, not their religion. There are bad apples in all religions.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Sure.

And Jews believe they have the right to force Arabs off of their land and take it, based on their understanding of the Old Testament.

The point is that if the imperative in the Koran is self-defense, that's quite different than many seem to think it is.

And, there's plenty of evidence that America has/continues to act as an oppressive occupying force.

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Katara 3 years, 3 months ago

So explain why Muslims should get using to the bashing because there are some jerks in their religion but Christians should not have to even though they have a good number of jerks in theirs.

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seriouscat 3 years, 3 months ago

Please. The same kind of stuff is said about Christians all the time. Most non-mainstream religions really. No one seems to mind that all that much when it's about them.

I think our country would be a million times better off if our culture placed more emphasis upon being a moral person and taking care of the poor; the two themes that dominate both Islam and Christianity.

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seriouscat 3 years, 3 months ago

To the LTE writer: back when the 'ground zero mosque" issue was front page, I argued against the NYC Imam's decision to build it. I jumped on the anti-Islam bandwagon because quite frankly, the stuff going in the Islamic states of the world scares the bejesus out of me. The fact that people riot and kill others over a cartoon or a book burning scares me. I later realized how ignorant I was being and I made an effort to learn more about Islam and what Muslims believe in.

I want to sincerely apologize for my own anti-Muslim rhetoric on that occasion. What he wants to do, and what you are doing by writing in, is the right thing to do to bring about healing and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. Dialogue and interaction CAN change things.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

Seriouscat, My family came to this country in 1906 because the Ottomans were killing those who couldn't pay taxes because they were poor. My Grandfather hated them and wanted to live free. He joined the US Army in 1914 to fight the Ottomans as an American. He gained a battlefiend commission when his commander was killed in Argonne forest. My dad enlisted as a Marine on December 9, 1941 and was part of the historic Marine brigades that fought in the pacific. He came home a hero for some battle where he exemplified his unit and himself. I am a Vietnam Vet and was in the South during the Tet Offensive. I, too, enlisted. I am a Muslim and I, like those before me, fought for the honor and priviledge that is America. It is on the shoulders of every man and woman who served that we walk this earth in a free and great country. By bashing and belittling our fellow Americans we lower the prestige of ourselves and our country. I will tell you that peace is the only way to progress. Without it we all die when the peace is breached. There is no other way. Peace is imperitive. Your apology is truly a brave and sincere way of bridging the peace between two great systems of belief. May you be blessed.

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seriouscat 3 years, 3 months ago

Thank you wounded soldier. May you also be blessed.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Come on out of the 14th Century, Afghan dudes.

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Alyosha 3 years, 3 months ago

The Christian Holy Book states quite clearly that "Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death."

That's the kind of barbarism you're talking about, right? And it's in the Christian Holy Book.

What's your secret for separating Biblical law from the Christian religion?

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Katara 3 years, 3 months ago

Much of Sharia law is culturally based which is why you see differences in the various sects of Islam and also differences among various Muslim countries.

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jonas_opines 3 years, 3 months ago

"Then how about sharing your secret of seperating sharia law from the muslim religion?"

You start or maintain a secular government.

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letsgiterdone 3 years, 3 months ago

I am unhappy with the people who think that freedom of expression and of speech are OK for somethings and not OK for others. Get a grip....the world can be an ugly place.

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thiscametomind 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree with your well written thought. To me it is an "of course" article. The stuff that allows people with different brain wirings, backgrounds, life history to live in close proximity and inhabit without trampling.

It is a sadness that there are those who need to be restrained from damaging, verbally or physically, others because of a different thought pattern that brings them to a different conclusion. Now there, if ever, is a need for a diety to step up and put a stop to something.... such abuse of one to another, rather than diety driving one to the abuse of another.

Reason will not make sense to those who are broken and can not hear. Statistically when we look close into the lives of people of extreme actions and reactions we will find damaged persons, either biologically or more often the damage is the result from other humans.

Still, we need the voices of reason and good sense, like yours, to be out there... and be as loud as the voices of the damaged. Thank you.

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

I didn't read your comment before I made my reply above. I agree completely with you.

Freedom of speech without self-limitation is no freedom at all.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

What Islam needs is a good Reformation.

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letsgiterdone 3 years, 3 months ago

It's time for the reasonable Muslim to take the bull by the horns and get control of their Muslim religeon.

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beatrice 3 years, 3 months ago

The way Christians have Rev. Jones under control?

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beatrice 3 years, 3 months ago

This was an individual going about a religious practice -- he didn't burn a copy of Catcher in the Rye, after all. It was religiously motivated, which makes it a religious practice, lawful or otherwise.

If all Muslims are to be blamed for not halting the extremism of some, then all Christians must be equally blamed for extremism done in their god's name.

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beatrice 3 years, 3 months ago

So you excuse Rev. Jones and Rev. Phelps from being part of the greater Christian religion because they are "individuals" and "quacks." Okay. But why don't you excuse the Islamic extremists as "individuals" and "quacks"? Perhaps, if you consider Jones and Phelps as part of the Christian faith, demented as they might be and as distorted their interpretation of the Christian Bible is, it would help you to understand why the vast, vast majority of Muslims are not actually responsible for the behavior of "individuals" and "quacks" in their religion. If you don't believe that fellow Christians are responsible for the actions of Phelps and Jones, then you shouldn't believe that fellow Muslims are responsible for the Islamic extremists.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

Jhawkins and :LETS, do you think the Muslim religion came from Muslims. If you took the time to read the book Jones burned, you would see that it is all about God and what God wants of us. Muhammad was illiterate and was given the Quran by an angel in the way of telling him to memorize it and then have scribes write it down. Every single word was done that way and sometimes in front of witnesses. The Quran talks about justice and freedom, the right way to act and the best way to pray to God Himself. He talks about giving part of what is earned to those who are poor, the wayfarer, the widow, the orphan. He tells us that there is a day when we all will be judged and that if we do rightiousness, believe in God and the last day, we will not have fear nor shall we grieve. This is what Islam is all about, not killing and retribution upon tyrants and despots. But then, read it yourself and see what you think. Then let's discuss it.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

Every religion and every holy book claims to be THE ONE, presented as a gift from God telling us all how to behave. The problem is, obviously, they all can't be the one. Each has it's own interpretation and how we interpret them, over time, determines how we understand them. The Bible, The Quran, The Torah, many many more, all talk of love, peace, how to love each other. They all can't be the one. All religions, from time to time, need to look at themselves and reflect upon the changing world and the relevance of their view of the world.
Obviously, if Muslims refuse to do this, and Christians refuse, and Jews refuse and all the religions refuse, then in time, we will all drift apart, eventually having no common ground from which we can communicate.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Of course.

But, actually, there's much more commonality between the 3 major monotheistic religions than most think.

The fundamental tenets of Islam are strikingly similar to the fundamental tenets of Judaism, for example.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

It matters how.

If somebody else secretly tapes it and puts it on the internet, that's one thing.

If I set up a webcam and broadcast it myself, that's another thing entirely.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

I have read that several people here contend that there are Muslims killing Christians in Turkey, Egypt and other places. I need to see proof positive that that is occurring. Muslims are prohibited by Sharia and the laws of the country to kill anyone, but killing Christians or Jews is specifically a crime because they are people of the "book"; meaning that they have received guidance from God, they are considered our brothers. What proof do you have, other than heresay, that it is happening? The Copts I know live peacefully in their own communities in Egypt, I don't know anything about the events in Turkey.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

On Sept 11, 2001, Millions upon millions of Muslims cowered in their homes praying and pleading to God to not make those who perpetrated those heinous crimes to be Muslims. I was certainly one of them and a few weeks later I was dismissed from my job because I am. I hope you can believe me when I say that I knew nothing about the plan or participated in its execution. I was in Lawrence, Kansas on that morning glued to the TV like millions of other Americans. I have travelled to Pakistan, Afghanistan in 1991, to Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi, Tunisia,, Palestine, Israel and greatly around America and attended the Mosque every friday and I have never met a terrorist or any person who said to me, " Hi, I am a terrorist", in private or public. Sorry, but hundred of mosques and not one terrorist. They must be small in numbers and very secretive. Don't you think? So how can you blame them all?

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

People should really look up the "fighting words" doctrine that vertigo has mentioned several times.

It's quite interesting.

Basically, as I understand it, it says that speech that by it's very utterance inflicts injury or tends to provoke an immediate breach of the peace is not protected by the 1st amendment.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

This guy and several posters on this forum are great recruiters to radical Islam. They just prove the stereotype of Christian Americans, which the radicals promote are true. This jerk knew exactly what would happen. I hope tax payers aren't having to pick up the tab for protecting him. His congregation should pay for his bodyguards. He is free to do and say what he wants, but he knew full well what would happen, and is loving every minute of it. Why doesn't he just do his job and minister to his congregation?

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tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

There was no really good reason to burn the book. He did it just to provoke the extremists, period. It's the only statement he was making. Do you poke sticks at rabid dogs, hoping they will calm down?

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

Right, but in this case, several people died as a result of Jones' actions and that is clearly, in my opinion, fighting words. Those people who were incited to action are victims of their own making, but the people who died, and I mean the Americans, were victims of both the killers and of Jones provocation. Hence, Jones is guility of something to do with murder. These kinds of actions killed those people as if Jones pulled the trigger himself.

What do you think????

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree, Killing anyone is a crime. But think about how that happened. Al Queda, your enemy and mine, built that up to sound like all Americans agreed with Jones and that they cheered as he burned it. This is the kind of war we are fighting. These terrorists will do anything to make us look bad and in the meantime, ALL Muslims look bad. Don't you get it?

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

I haven't read every post, so maybe somebody has already said this.

The "but they did so-and-so" sounds like a bunch of pre-schoolers. We should be living by our own moral and ethical standards, not using what someone else does to excuse what we do. We should be better than that. We should not lower ourselves to someone else's level. Then they have won---they are controlling us.

The good Rev. Jones purposely stirred up violence. I do not know what his motives were---that's not really the issue. The issue is that he knew what he was doing and he was willing to sacrifice the lives of people who he did not know---play god, so to speak.

You can argue until your face turns purple about whether Muslims are more violent than Christians or vice versa. That is not the point. The letter writer has done what many have required all Muslims do to prove that they don't support terrorism---he has ". . . totally and unequivocally disparage[d] the actions of those terrorists who have stolen our religion." What more do you want?

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tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

Exactly, this preacher had no reason to burn the book, except to incite violence. He knew what the reactions would be, but he did it anyway. What purpose did it serve, except to give some podunk preacher publicity, and give him his 15 minutes of fame? I would be asking why our society breeds this desire to be famous, even if it's for doing something bad. Why isn't this preacher doing his job? He should be ministering to the needs of his congregation. He is not really a Christian. He just started up a church, so he didn't have to pay taxes and so he could promote his personal hateful agenda.

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

I really have no idea what his motives were---I can't even wrap my brain around what the fool did. I have no doubt that he has told himself that his motives are pure and from God. I suspect it's not so much that our society breeds the desire to be famous as it is that it is now possible. What I am pretty sure of is that he is an arrogant, self-centered person who doesn't even realize that he has made a fool of himself in front of the whole world and of course will take no moral responsibility for what he has done.

My problem with so many of the comments is that Mr. Omar did exactly what so many anti-Muslims keep asking for---he unequivocally disavowed terrorism---and yet people are still not satisfied. Don't think they want to be.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Yep.

And on other threads they'll continue to say that no mainstream Muslims denounce terrorism.

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

Sigh.

Mr. Omar has denounced Muslim terrorism. He has denounced the hijacking of his religion. Is there something else you want him to do?

So far, no Muslim army has invaded the United States. Could be we've pissed off some people in the middle east. You know, invading countries, killing innocent people, things like that. I consider those things acts of terrorism. I consider the drumbeat of militancy in some American churches to be wrong and I denounce it.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

"You know, invading countries, killing innocent people, things like that. I consider those things acts of terrorism" And there you have in a nutshell the exact reason for the attacks on 9/11. Arabs and Muslims don't hate American Democracy or America as Bush stated, They hate being attacked by America and the funding by America of Israel's war machine against Palestinians.

I will go on record as saying that the 9/11 attacks are heinous crimes and done by those who have hijacked Islam, but they were done for the reasons stated above. And this is why 13% support terrorism in the Middle East. They simply want Americans out of their countries.

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

Just to be clear, as a member of the human race, I denounce all acts of terrorism by any person for any reason.

That should pretty much cover it.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

Again, how do you know, Gandolf, that you oppose Sharia law? Have you seen it in action and know what difference there is between it and American Law? 99% of American law agrees with Sharia. How can you detest it if your laws are commensurate with Sharia? It gives us rules on how to deal with thieves, murderers, fraudulent rules or leaders, etc. We Americans have almost the same. There are differences in the requirements of religion, but most Americans are not Muslim. There are many things in life that we don't know about and if we did, we might agree with it. Ask me questions,

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm not that familiar with the Quran, but I have studied the Bible fairly extensively and I would not want American Law to be based on it.

Gotta have that polycotton. Don't want to iron my shirts.

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

Well Sharia is all about the Quran and not a bit about the Bible.So tpo judge Sharia, I would think you should know about the Quran. Where did you get those statistics? 4 or 5 parts don't agree and then talking about which version. There is only one version of the Quran. There are many translations into foreign languages but only ONE Quran, unlike the Bible. All Muslim read the same one.

Any way thanks for the discussions. I hope there are more without burning anything.

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