The intolerance of religious tolerance

Pastor Terry Jones is reverently committed to insulting the world’s Muslim population by burning a couple hundred Holy Qurans on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The contentious commentary dividing Muslims and Christians might incline many to believe the trigger for the next world war is about to be squeezed. 

“It is the duty of Muslims to react,” said Mohammad Mukhtar, a cleric and candidate for the Afghan parliament in the Sept. 18 election. “When their holy book Quran gets burned in public, then there is nothing left. If this happens, I think the first and most important reaction will be that wherever Americans are seen, they will be killed. No matter where they will be in the world they will be killed.” 

I am not the only American who has a similar reaction to watching people trample on and burn American flags—except the part about killing anyone of the same nationality anywhere “they will be in the world.” The killing part I’m willing to reserve for the kinds of cowards who murdered thousands of innocents on September 11, 2001 … and all who aid, assist and defend them. 

Earlier this evening I watched the National Geographic show, Giuliani’s 9-11, and it came as a surprise the way the emotions from watching that 2001 terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania stirred. A lot of Americans feel the same way. There is no refuting an undertone of understanding, if not support, for the nutty Florida pastor swirling behind the public and political outrage directed at Jones’ provocative exhibition—especially with the Ground Zero mosque controversy raging. 

Intellectually, the contrasting attitudes between the two acts pose a conundrum of hypocrisy for both sides. The Quran burning will be over about as quickly as one of those Middle Eastern “death to America” effigy and American flag burning demonstrations. Americans have grown blasé’ after watching hundreds of those insults for the past 15 years. The Park 51 project, the Cordoba Mosque as it was originally called, will be there at Ground Zero far after the scar on America’s psyche from the World Trade Center attack has finally faded. It took 60 years before American school children were no longer taught about Pearl Harbor and the Nazi scourge. There is evil in this world that must be fought.

Muslims, particularly the radical Islamics prone to joining in mayhem and jihad, can no more understand why Americans believe the Ground Zero mosque location is insulting than Americans can understand the abject devotion to the teachings of Mohammed that has, and will, spark international violence and death over Jones’ insulting gesture. Do radical Islamic terrorists not realize America is already at war with them?

Ann Coulter unloads her own special style of satire in her column at Her closing paragraph sums up the argument: “The reason not to burn Qurans is that it’s unkind — not to jihadists, but to Muslims who mean us no harm. The same goes for building a mosque at ground zero — in both cases, it’s not a question of anyone’s “rights,” it’s just a nasty thing to do.” 

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf seems to agree that this New York mosque is a bad idea and he might be amenable to moving it two blocks, except that changing the location now could cause more violence, unrest and Muslim humiliation on top of the Quran burning insult. 

“The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said, “But if you don’t do this (build the mosque) right, anger will explode in the Muslim world.”

“If I knew this would happen, if it would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said. 

The suddenly patriotic smartest woman in America, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hopes the media refuses to cover the Quran burning for “patriotic” reasons. Yeah, right. With all the commentary, threats and attention so far, hiding in a cave for a month may be the only way to avoid the 24-hour coverage already begun. Jones and his miniscule flock have guns and radical Muslims want to martyr themselves to kill the Pentecostal Christian blasphemers. The story has more legs than Geraldo Rivera’s Al Capone’s Vault show. 

“Of course it’s insulting, of course it’s not a nice thing to do,” Jones said. “But this is a very dangerous religion. If we don’t do it, when do we stop backing down?”

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida is cognizant of the repercussions that will ensue from his book torching. It is “meant to be a warning,” Jones said.

Instead, Jones’ spiritually inspired and ill-considered slap at Islam is a reminder. America got the warning on September 11, 2001. The lesson is that there is no reasoning with people so blinded by their religious faith that they are consumed with zealous hatred.

The world’s most powerful political, military and religious leaders—all have commented on this festering confrontation of national and religious wills, but no leadership toward a peaceful solution has emerged. So, in the name of God, we shall have more terrorism and fear, more war, and more death–all in the name of tolerance.


In breaking news Thursday Pastor Terry Jones called off the burning of Qurans after an Iman involved in the Park 51 Project promised the Ground Zero mosque will be moved to another location.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said no such promise has been made.

The religious zealots of the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for anti-gay demonstrations at the funerals of U.S. military service members, promises to burn Qurans if Jones will not.

“WBC burned the Koran once – and if you sissy brats of Doomed america bully Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center until they change their plans to burn that blasphemous tripe called the Koran, then WBC will burn it (again), to clearly show you some things,” the church announced in a news release this week.

Associated Press writer Charles J. Hanley points out that the Ground Zero mosque flap made hardly a ripple in the Middle East, but in an Internet-driven news world the Quran burning touched off riots.

“A century ago, Mark Twain was said to have observed that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth even gets its boots on. He spoke figuratively, of course. Today, in a world of religious tensions, terrorism, nuclear bombs and instant crisis, it’s a fact.”


Pastor Jones may reconsider the burn after concluding Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, lied about the agreement to move the Ground Zero mosque.


About zingstrom

Journalist, free-lance writer, photographer and aviator.
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