Burning Koran is Deadly Wrong

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on reports that a Florida pastor is planning to burn a copy of the Koran on 9/11:

Minister Terry Jones wants to show his anger at radical Muslims by burning a copy of the Koran on September 11. He is wrong morally, and he is literally endangering innocent lives.

The Koran is embraced by Muslims who are law-abiding men and women, as well as by terrorists. Jones knows this to be true, but somehow in his twisted understanding of Christianity, he thinks he has a right to insult and smear all Muslims. Furthermore, he is endangering innocent lives—including Americans—as Gen. David Petraeus has warned. Already, there are Muslims who have taken to the streets in Afghanistan and Indonesia.

While it would be wrong to sustain the “heckler’s veto” by giving in to those who seek to veto free speech by heckling, in this instance the “heckler’s veto” is moot: no one is in jeopardy of losing his free speech rights. What is being requested is a plea not to inflame passions needlessly by assaulting the sensibilities of Muslims worldwide.

In 1998, I criticized gay radicals who burned a copy of the Bible at Syracuse University to protest an appearance by Pat Buchanan. Now we have extremists on the right seeking to stoke the flames of bigotry against Muslims. It, too, must be criticized.

Minister Jones is more than a disgrace—he is engaged in agitprop and must be unequivocally condemned. There are plenty of legitimate ways to protest the wrongdoing that took place on September 11, 2001. Burning copies of the Koran is not one of them.

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  • goral

    Methinks that every lib doth protest too much and that something is really rotten in the USA that in the past has insulted and outraged every religion and every religious person.
    Christians and other religious have taken a bullet to the head or back and a knife to the throat by Koran readers – no outcries, hardly a peep.
    Now a small time, parochial incident that would go unnoticed but for the media who are fueling this for their own twisted idea of freedom of speech.
    One gutsy pastor has the whole world’s undies tied in a knot.
    How pathetically hypocritical.

  • Joe DeVet

    I’m gonna kind of go with “goral” on this one. The hypocrisy by media and other elites is palpable in this case. And the reaction shows very clearly the point that the Florida pastor is making–Islam is a violent religion. They murder us, they burn our flag, they “convert” by the sword, and we do not retaliate. And we shouldn’t. Burn a bible and we are saddened and puzzled, but not murderous. But burn a Koran, or even publish a cartoon and that’s worth “many innocent lives” being lost. This article makes its own contrary case.

    Yes, burning the Koran is a crude gesture, and not very smart. But who is going to make the point in public, and how will he make it, that there is something about Islam which may render that religion not subject to the protections of our Bill of Rights?

    A thought experiment: do we suppose that the Founders, when fashioning the Bill of Rights, had in mind protecting a religion such as the Mayans had practiced? It involved human sacrifice of the most gruesome sort. Now, is there a parallel between that barbarity and the kind of things which happen under Sharia law?

  • goral

    For all I know Pastor Jones may even be an anti-Catholic but the events are unfolding in a way that is curiouser and curiouser. This is now being tied to the grossly insensitive action that Islam wants to take in NYC. Those of us with respect for our fellowman know both actions to be wrong. The only one so far being consistent is mayor Bloomberg. He says build the mosque and burn the Korans all in the name of freedom. It’s quite possible that sanity will prevail in of all of this and neither will happen.

  • consecrata

    Yes, it is wrong to burn a holy book – but there is something deeper at stake here. I don’t hear any major outrage by Muslims at the stoning, whipping, torture, killing of women for even an alleged offense, I don’t remember hearing any major outrage or protest from Muslims when Americans were beheaded in Muslim countries; I heard a major protest – outrage – and threats of death at a benign drawing of Muhammed while images of Mary, the Mother of God can be covered with manure or urinated on – no major outrage at that. An Imam claims to be extending his hands in peace and harmonious brotherhood by his project to build a Mosque near ground zero and says he will not ‘barter’ and is determined to go ahead with his project despite the feelings of victims of 9/11 – so there’s no peace/harmony after all…then he offered a veiled threat that if the building of the Mosque does not go ahead as planned, there could be violent repercussions against Americans – no peace/harmony there either. So – threatening to burn a Quaran is offensive but not nearly as offensive as the above stated acts/threats.

  • It is unkind to insult others by needlessly burning something they consider holy. It is imprudent and even reckless to burn what others consider holy when it may prompt them to violence against innocent third parties and therefore shows a lack of just concern for other’s welfare.

    It is not however wrong to burn the Koran, in the sense of being a moral wrong or a sin. If one were to privately put a Koran in a trash can and burn it in his yard — assuming he was not violating some local fire ordinance — he would be committing no sin. It is not really a holy thing.