Tom Ascol wrote an outstanding article in the Tampa Bay Examiner today on the fiasco surrounding the outrageously foolish plans on the part of Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida to burn Qurans on September 11 (Saturday), supposedly in honor of the innocent lives lost nine years ago on that date. An excerpt:
As a Christian pastor who has more than a casual interest in what happens to Muslim friends and fellow believers living in the Muslim world, I want to offer a few thoughts on this fiasco:
1. Jones has justified burning the Quran because it is an “evil book” that leads people away from the true God. Consistency, then, should lead him to add countless other titles to his bonfire, including many that are written by authors who purport to be promoting Christianity but who miss the gospel altogether.
2. This proposed burning, coming as it does at the end of Ramadan, is severely damaging opportunities that Americans and Christians living in Muslim countries normally have to deepen relationships and share in the goodwill that is typically shown by Muslims to their neighbors in the celebration of Eid, the breaking of the fast. Instead, a cloud of suspicion is gathering over the heads of American Christians living in Muslim countries because of the actions of a small group of people in Florida. If you doubt this, you are simply naive and it is certain that you had no Muslim friends living near you on September 12, 2001.
3. Burning copies of the Quran in Florida may appear to be courageous to some who think only superficially about such things. In reality, it is closer to cowardice. If Jones were genuinely courageous he would go to Kabul or Tehran and hold his bonfire. Better yet, if he were both courageous and wise he would go to those place, or others like them, and learn how to live among and love Muslims for the sake of teaching them the gospel of Jesus from the Bible.
4. Burning Qurans is more about publicity than it is about honoring Jesus Christ or advancing His kingdom. It is an unbiblical activity. By that I mean, there is nothing in the Bible that directs Christians to do such a thing, especially in conjunction with a day of national remembrance.
Read the whole thing. I received an e-mail this week from a dear friend who lives and works in Afghanistan. He was a personal friend of one of the victims from the recent Taliban attack that killed ten aid workers near Kabul. My friend has every reason to fear for his life if Jones follows through with his cowardly and self-serving plans.