I know this is a provocative question but it has to be asked.  What would happen if a group of people went out in the street and burned a Bible and a Torah?  How would people feel.  Burning the Koran was stupid, but its a stretch to say that nut in Florida needs to share the blame for what happened in Afghanistan today. 
What do you think the reaction be to the burning of Christian and Jewish holy books in this country would be?

Tags: bible, burning, intolerance, religious

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The reaction from Petraeus

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The top American military commander and civilian representative in Afghanistan Sunday condemned the burning of a Quran in the United States, an act which sparked days of protests that have left more than 20 dead.
Burning the Muslim holy book "was hateful, it was intolerant and it was extremely disrespectful and again, we condemn it in the strongest manner possible," Gen. David Petraeus said Sunday.
Ambassador Mark Sedwill called the burning of a Quran by a small Florida church "an act of disrespect to the Muslim faith and to all peoples of faith. It does not represent the views of the peoples or governments of the alliance."
Don't think there are very many people defending it :)

Another view from the East

 

Letter from America: Terry Jones – the hateful provocateur

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

 

Habib_Siddiqui_65.jpg
Remember Christian pastor Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida? He caused an international uproar last year by threatening to burn 200 copies of the Qur’an, the Muslim Holy Scripture, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

 

Among others, the overall commander of forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, had warned at that time that such an action could provoke violence in Afghanistan and could endanger American troops. Jones subsequently promised not to burn the Qur’an.

Last month, on March 20, however, with only 30 worshipers attending, Terry Jones held a self-styled mock trial of the Qur’an in which he presided from the pulpit as a judge. Sitting in judgment was a jury of 12 members of his church. Punishment was determined by the results of an online poll. Besides burning, the options included shredding, drowning and facing a firing squad. Jones said voters had chosen to set fire to the book, according to a video of the proceedings. So the Qur’an was burned.

The hateful act drew little publicity inside the USA, but provoked angry condemnation in the Af-Pak region, where it was reported in the local media and where anti-American sentiment already runs high. Last week, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan condemned the burning in an address before the Parliament, and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Thursday called on the United States to bring those responsible for the Qur’an burning to justice. A prominent Afghan cleric, Mullah Qyamudin Kashaf, the acting head of the influential Ulema Council of Afghanistan and a Karzai appointee, also called for American authorities to arrest and try Terry Jones in the Qur’an burning.

Obviously, the U.S. government will not take any action against the Christian pastor. There is absolute freedom in this country to trash a religion, its founder and its holy book, although Tomahawks may be fired and mega-ton bombs dropped to kill anyone considered hostile to the USA. The U.S. government doesn’t have to put the suspect into a lengthy trial process; it is easier this way to simply vaporize him, his family and tribe, and the neighborhood he lived!

I am sure many westerners would see no problem with such a politically secular and chauvinistic attitude, considered so outlandish, one-sided or hypocritical by so many in the East. They forget that every freedom that we enjoy has its limitations. When the rights of others are violated, it is no longer deemed freedom but can be an abuse or a crime. Many of these bigots and self-righteous nuts like Jones forget that we live in a highly connected world in which information flies instantly. So the provocation here can trigger a tsunami elsewhere. And we have witnessed plenty of such occurrences in recent years.

Consider for instance, the reaction to the demolition of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan. In the days following the Taliban insanity, scores of Muslim houses of worship were burned down in many Buddhist majority countries in south and south-east Asia. The same was the consequence in Nepal during the height of Iraqi occupation when thousands of Nepalese Hindus burned at least two mosques including the "Jamaa" mosque, the largest mosque in the capital Katmandu, in protest against the killing of 12 Nepalese wage earners who had been working as cooks and cleaners for the occupation forces by an Iraqi insurgent group in August 31, 2004. In Nepalgunj, Nepal's western capital, nine houses inhabited by Muslims were burnt down. At least three Muslims were killed; several Muslim shops and businesses were also destroyed by the angry mob.

And who can forget the post-9/11 backlash in the USA — the steady stream of more than 800 cases of violence and discrimination suffered by American Muslims at the hands of know-nothing abusers? (It is worth nothing that while Muslims make up 1 percent of the U.S. population, they are victims in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases. These range from homicides and mosque burnings to job, school and zoning law abuses, according to the Justice Department.)

Afghanistan is not impervious to information either. Its people had more than its share of troubles since the 1970s with foreign occupation forces and their stooges. Deeply religious and reflexively volatile, it has long been highly reactive to perceived insults against Islam. Thus the provocative desecration of the Qur’an in Gainesville was not lost in its information radar screen. Last Friday some 20,000 protesters overran the compound of the United Nations in Mazar-i-Sharif, the northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people. The dead included at least seven United Nations workers, and five Afghans.

The attack once again underscored the latent hostility toward the nine-year foreign presence here, even in a city long considered to be among the safest in Afghanistan. The indiscriminate NATO bombing campaigns that have killed thousands of civilians have only reinforced the perception amongst most Afghans, including the western-back government of Karzai, that these western forces and their mercenaries have no respect for Afghan lives. They want them out.

Terry Jones, the provocateur responsible for triggering this latest episode, remains unrepentant. Instead of being remorseful, he audaciously demanded that the United States and United Nations take “immediate action” against Muslim nations in retaliation for the deaths. “The time has come to hold Islam accountable,” he said.

Such deranged talks from a bigoted Christian pastor should not surprise us. It is hateful people like him that should be tried for their crimes of inciting violence the same way some of their counterparts are currently tried. They cannot be allowed to take refuge under rights to free speech while their speeches and sacrilegious acts breed hatred, thereby endangering the lives of too many. When our governments are seemingly insensible to the harmful activities caused by these Christian pastors while have no problem justifying their bombing campaigns against hideouts of a Muslim who is accused of inciting violence against occupation forces in Muslim land, it is height of hypocrisy! It is inexcusable.

Notes:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/mosques-burn-in-nepal-... see also the UNHCR report on religious persecution of Muslims in Nepal:

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,USDOS,,NPL,4562d8cf2,48d5cbf...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/opinion/02sat2.html?nl=todayshead...

 

Beuatifully argued, but the conclusion is false.

Free speech is the fundamental thing. There is nothing which can be put underneath it, only on top. Such as threats. The only people we put on trial solely for their words are those who make them of action towards others or their property. Because this serves to better humanity - and we do not put people on trial for threatening, and subsequenty go on to, destroying inanimate objects they own. That is a threat towards noone nor anything anyone else owns. Such a person is damaging only himself, and the correct way to deal with such people is to declare them insane and their words devoid of meaning.

The only people we put on trial solely for their words are those who make them of action towards others or their property.

Brandenburg v Ohio makes no such restriction. The test for the limitation on free speech is intent, imminence, and likelihood. Clearly, Terry Jones had every intention of inciting violence. He also knew that there was every likelihood that his actions would cause violence. So that leaves "imminence."  Sorry to quote Wikipedia, but "under the imminent lawless action test, speech is not protected by the First Amendment if the speaker intends to incite a violation of the law that is both imminent and likely." 

 

What Terry jones did is not, in my opinion, protected free speech. I think he should be prosecuted for his part in causing the deaths of the UN workers and everyone else who has died or will die because of his actions.

 

This is completely separate from ALSO condemning the actions of anyone (Al Queda or anyone else) who directly harmed/killed people over the book burning.

How was it intent to incite anything? He did a mock trial and burned a book. He did not tell anyone to commit violence against Muslims. He did not command a mosque to be blown up. That is incitement to violence, and by the way, that's exactly what the Imams did in Afghanistan after Friday prayers. They were the ones who told them to go crazy because their religion had been defiled. THAT is incitement to violence, not putting on a mock trial and burning a book. Did he know that he was going to piss people off? Absolutely. However, his action did not result in any deaths. ZERO people were hurt by his book burning. Zero. 20 people are dead because the Imams rabble roused halfway across the world (EDIT: I said country by accident.). His INTENT was to defile Islam to push Christianity, not to have his audience kill or harm Muslims. I do not think this was intent to incite violence at all.
 

I don't believe for a second that Jones intended to incite violence. Why do you assume that? As for holding him criminally accountable, the burden would be on the prosecution to prove that he intended violence with his action. It's not enough to argue that he should have known or even did know there would be violence...it has to be proven that violence was the intent (or at least one of the intents of his actions).  To suggest that the afghan response was predictable is tantamount to racism IMO. "Everybody knows that Afghan's like to kill innocent people when their religion is insulted" is hopefully not a position that any American prosecutor would ever seriously consider in a court of law.

Any legal action against him would fail if anyone is stupid enough to bring him up on charges, which I seriously doubt will happen.

What about burning flags and burning people in effigy? Should those actions be punishable?

To Ryan and Marshall, this is what Jones said about his planned book burnings last September:

Jones said that his church's goal was "to expose that there is an element of Islam that is very dangerous and very radical."

After the March burning, he said:
"We wanted to raise awareness of this dangerous religion and dangerous element," Jones said. "I think [today's attack] proves that there is a radical element of Islam."

How does burning a book "raise awareness of this dangerous religion" unless he intended for there to be a violent reaction amongst the "radical element of Islam."

I don't think you've processed anything that was said or the reality of what happened.

Because his hypothesis that Islam is a dangerous religion was correct it's hate speech? What if nothing happened? What if he was ignored? Still hate speech? I don't see you making the same case. I'm sorry, but this argument is really stupid. He's an idiot that nobody would have ever heard of if there wasn't something called the internet or webcast. He's a troll in a Church Pastor uniform intentionally being a provocateur, but guess what? That's not illegal. Saying or doing provocative things is not illegal. His burning was to disgrace Islam. His burning was NOT telling them to storm the U.N. The Imams who showed/relayed the burning on Friday prayer FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF STARTING A RIOT is the real intent to incite violence.
Great insight Ryan :)
This article is filled with non-sequiturs.

"There is absolute freedom in this country to trash a religion, its founder and its holy book, although Tomahawks may be fired and mega-ton bombs dropped to kill anyone considered hostile to the USA. The U.S. government doesn’t have to put the suspect into a lengthy trial process; it is easier this way to simply vaporize him, his family and tribe, and the neighborhood he lived!
I am sure many westerners would see no problem with such a politically secular and chauvinistic attitude, considered so outlandish, one-sided or hypocritical by so many in the East."

So, if I support this act as a heinous and pathetic excuse to exercise free speech (and I do), I automatically support government bombings and slaughter of civilians? I think that idea is ridiculous. It's the linkage of two completely separate policies to apologize for the violence that occurred.

He spends the entire article making Muslims the victim in this case. They killed 20 people because some jackass burned a book. Really let that sink in. 20 people are dead, because some jackass on youtube burned a book halfway around the world. That's fucking ridiculous (sorry for the curse, but I feel it adds the necessary weight). There is no excuse or rationalization for such abhorrent and fanatical behavior. Attempts to tell their side of the story ring hollow. Pastor Jones: idiot, provocateur, theist, theocrat himself, the other side of the same coin, but the 20,000 people who mobbed the UN do not get a shred of my sympathy.

"I hate you, I hate everything about your religion, I wish you all die of horrible illnesses. To offend you I'm gonna destroy something you hold dear.

After that, please go out and kill someone to prove my point."

Any takers for my offer?

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