I may not be an influential world figure, but I just want to go on record as condemning the “International Burn a Koran Day,” organized by Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida.
It saddens me in the deepest possible way to think that this pastor fervently believes such a hateful act is the right thing to do. The pastor’s idea is that Islam is “of the devil” and must be challenged in an aggressive way. By planning this for the anniversary of September 11, he is obviously equating Islam with terrorism, which is ill-informed and harmful.
Burning the Korans is a way to express condemnation and disrespect for Islam, which is what he wants. But I can’t understand how he thinks it will help to eradicate Islam, which is presumably his goal. On the contrary, his action could only have the effect of strengthening Muslims’ commitment to their religion. In addition, terrorists who are Muslim could point to this incident to prove their rightness in attacking the West—and that is the most dire outcome of this misguided action.
I pray that the pastor will change his mind and not go forward with his plans. However, he has already caused a lot of damage just by planning such an event. I hope that Muslims around the world recognize that he does not speak for most Americans, for most Christians, or for most of any other group.
I hope you'll join me in speaking up against these plans.