Burning controversy cools down

Florida pastor Terry Jones, a senior pastor for the Dove World Outreach Center, advocated burning the  Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks this past Saturday.

“After immense pressure the Florida pastor backtracked and called off the burning after several officials, including President Obama urged him to do so,” New York Daily News writer Aliyah Shahid reported.

Although I am thankful that Jones called off the burning, I wonder why anyone would consider this proposition an acceptable way to commemorate the loss of our citizens on Sept. 11.

What is even more shocking to me than the acceptance of such religious intolerance is how Jones was able to steal the country’s attention.

Jones only made his claim about burning the Quran to capture the attention of the American public and give his small, idiotic sect of ‘Islamaphobes’ their 15 minutes of fame.

Jones claimed that he would call off his Quran burning only if the “ground zero Mosque” relocated.

The main focus is the fact that a  Florida extremist thought he could get away with burning a religious text, but it is also about how little we really know about the Islam and how we react when we hear anything associated with it.

I could not believe the nerve of these people to set up a mosque at the location where our country suffered an unspeakable loss. I will admit, when I heard that there was a mosque near ground zero, I was livid.

However, if one were to read further, they would see that this mosque is not as bad as it may seem. This mosque is not a mosque at all: it is a community center that contains a worship space.

“Earlier this year, an organization called the Cordoba Initiative was granted permission by the appropriate authorities in New York City to turn an old Burlington Coat Factory at 51 Park Place in lower Manhattan into a community center,” Huffington Post writer Jason Linkins said.

This community center is headed by Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has devoted his life to oppose groups such as al-Qaida.

He also works to teach children to be tolerant of other cultures and religions.

“The proposed community center was to include a basketball court and space for different religious communities in New York City to have interfaith relations,” Linkins said.

So, this “ground zero mosque” turns out to not even be located on the actual ground zero site, but two blocks away.  It turns out it wasn’t a mosque at all.

Reading that, I felt foolish for allowing myself to be so overcome by anger.

However, one has to take into account that a large amount of the American public will not go to that extra length to discover the truth behind a shocking news brief.

When Jones’ plans to burn the Quran were spilled, the American public, including the media, began begging and pleading with Jones to call off the burning. Even President Obama urged Jones to cancel his book burning.

Why did the American public allow themselves to be so overtaken by one man’s radical plans? After all the exposure that Jones and his church have received, their organization will be talked about for years to come: a mission they intended to accomplish by the proposed book burning.

Our fear  is what gave Jones’ book burning scare so much legitimacy. Jones announced he would call off his Quran burning only if Rauf relocated the site of his community center.

Subsequently, the American public began begging Jones not to burn the Quran.

Every media station was overtaken by the crippling fear that this man was going to burn the religious text of Islam.

However, if the American public had ignored Jones’ unimportant and irrational claims, the Quran still would not have been burned and Jones and his church would not have lived rent-free in our heads for the past few days.

Although I’m thankful that we dodged a very provocative and dangerous bullet with the burning of the Quran, we unfortunately gave Jones a platform to showcase his propaganda and forced the media to bend to his will, no matter how ridiculous. Jones successfully embarrassed the American media by hijacking news coverage for a week and using scare tactics to inspire even our highest official to ask him to call off his display of immaturity.


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