Pastor Terry Jones is a man with a pettish attitude who the world tried to ignore after his inflammatory ramblings, and threats, to burn thousands of Qurans in September 2010 in commemoration of the September 2001 horrors. After intervention from the Papal City, the Secretary of State and others he chose not to go ahead with the proposed sacrilege. (my.telegraph.co.uk/applegidley September 8, 2010 The Dove and the Quran)
Jones argues that when he gave notice in January he was going to put the Islamic Holy Book on trial he received no complaints. It never occurred to him, or maybe it did, that the world thought he was beneath contempt and therefore better ignored. And Jones does not like being ignored. It’s like people forgot about us, he said to reporters yesterday.
One wonders why he should be remembered.
He has done nothing to further dialogue between extreme religious factions but instead has nurtured his own intolerance in others, who in his own son’s words says, We’re not very well educated. Like a child repudiated and out of the limelight Jones has again emerged as an irrational, bigoted man hanging on by a tenuous thread to a dwindling congregation in Gainesville, Florida. But this time his actions have caused deaths in Afghanistan of soldiers and civilians trying to regain control over areas the Taliban have regained, and that makes him a dangerous man.
The trial of the Quran presided over by the megalomaniacal pastor, and then the act of burning the Holy Book streamed live on the Internet with Arabic subtitles, has in one action undone much of the slow and painstaking ‘hearts and minds’ strategy that is being attempted by the coalition troops in Afghanistan, along with the physical quashing of the Taliban.
It is unfortunate that President Karzai saw fit to further stoke the flames by demanding justice from the US and the UN for the pusillanimous pastor’s actions, thereby informing a swathe of Afghanistan that had no knowledge of the affair.
However the blame lies firmly with the little man in Florida who now has a bounty on his head. A bounty that would be far better spent educating the women of Afghanistan and Pakistan so that one day they might hold greater sway over their menfolk’s thoughts and actions.
But the Pastor cares nothing about spreading good, or truth. When challenged as to why he broke his promise, given last September, not to burn the Quran he replied, I guess we broke our word.
Are those the words of a good man?