The pastor of a small and controversial fundamentalist Christian church in Gainseville Florida announced that he planned to burn copies of the Koran in a bonfire on September 11, 2010 on the ninth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. It quickly became a hot news item that brought worldwide attention, and worldwide condemnation at high levels– including from president Obama. As I write this on the eve of 9/11, news breaks that this pastor, Terry Jones, has announced that he has called off the event. He claims that he has received a promise from the Imam in New York City who wants to build an Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero that in return the project will be moved. The Imam says he has only agreed to speak to Jones, and not to move the project.
An important question about this whole affair is what are Jones’ motives? And at this point, has he accomplished what he intended by these actions? To enlighten oneself on these questions one must examine further just who is this Terry Jones and what else has he been up to lately.
According to CBS News, Jones’ “church,” the Dove World Outreach Center, spends most of its money on administrative expenses and operates a furniture business. He also sells a book he authored entitled “Islam is of the Devil”, as well as tee shirts, mugs and hats on a website he operates– Islamisofthedevil.com. The story also points out that the church has lost a portion of its tax-exempt status due to these other activities.
So what are we to think about Jones’s motives? Obviously, all the attention he is getting will bring more people to his various businesses – especially his book. Such attention can only result in increased sales for these business activities. Does Jones need cash? The CBS investigation also discovered that his church is for sale: “reduced 1.1 million for a quick sale!!” It appears that his motives are to make more money from his various business activities. Even after cancelling his Koran-burning event, it would seem he has achieved his goals. Hopefully his scheme has not also resulted in increased radicalization of Muslims who are now armed with more “evidence” that America is out to get them.
Jones apparently is not only anti-Islam, but also believes other non-Christian religions are “of the Devil.” In this interview he makes the same claim about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Basically, the man is a bigoted nutcase. Why are we giving him all the attention he craves?
Far From Ground Zero, Obscure Pastor Is Ignored No Longer, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/us/26gainesville.html?_r=1
Pastor Terry Jones Cancels Koran Burning, http://abcnews.go.com/US/pastor-terry-jones-calls-off-koran-burning-ground-zero-mosque/story?id=11594495
The Perils of Covering the Quran Burning, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20016000-503544.html
Dove World Outreach Center: Where Does the Money Go?, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20015716-10391695.html