Dove World Outreach Church pastor Terry Jones says that plans to burn the Koran Sept. 11 to protest radial Islam are on. Despite a warning from David Petraeus, U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, that the Koran burning by Florida-based Dove World Outreach could create a backlash against U.S. military troops, Jones says his congregation is prepared to go forward with its protest. Jones agrees that burning the Koran may unleash violence — it already has spawned protests in Indonesia and Afghanistan — but that prospect has not stalled the church’s Koran-burning plan.
An apparent church member named Fran Ingraham posted 10 reasons for the Koran burning on Dove World Outreach’s blog. The preamble explains “..Islam is a danger. We are using this act to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.” Later in the explanation, the church blog refers to the Koran as “demonic.”
The blog goes on to compare Islam to Nazism and warns that Americans have been hoodwinked by the growth of “(for now) nonviolent Islam.”
So why is Terry Jones keeping up the pretext that the message behind Dove World Outreach Church’s Koran burning is aimed at radical Muslims only? He went so far as to suggest in a media interview that mainstream Muslims should be on his side of the controversy over the Koran burning.
The Dove World Outreach Church blog disclaims any comparison of its Koran burning to Nazi book-burning, saying “we are not, like the Nazis, stealing books, destroying any properties, or harming people.”
But maybe Dove Outreach has more in common with Nazis than it thinks. When the Nazis began burning books, the world response reflected recognition of the dangers inherent in intolerance. Demonstrations occurred in Jewish communities in the USA to protest the Nazi book burning, just like protests against Dove World Outreach’s Koran burning are taking place in countries populated by Muslims.
Jones and his followers may not intend any physical harm to Muslims, but does that excuse their knowing unleashing of forces that might take their hateful Koran burning to its logical next step and the step after that? Jones and his church would do well to reflect on the words of German poet Heinrich Heine, whose work was among the targets of Nazi book-burners. He wrote in his play Almansor,“Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”