Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Terry Jones and the killings in Afghanistan
Two weeks ago Terry Jones held a six hour ceremony at the World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The ceremony was held to determine if the Quran, the Muslim Holy Book, should be burned. Unfortunately Jones and his clan ended up burning the Quran.
Last fall, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Jones threatened to do the same thing. Under pressure from political leaders in the United States—including a plea from David Petraeus, the commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, Jones decided not to follow through on his threat.
On September 8 I wrote a blog about Jones threatened action. I describe him as an angry man with a small flock. I’m heartened that the media paid less attention to Jones’ action this time than last September.
An important question for me is do I think that Jones represents mainstream Christianity? No. In no place in the gospels do I read Jesus encouraging or even hinting people to burn books. I’m preaching a sermon series right now on the Sermon on the Mount. In that sermon, Jesus asked that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I believe a more appropriate response for Jones would be to pray for Muslims.
In response to Jones’ action 24 people have been killed in Afghanistan, including seven United Nations workers. The country of Afghanistan suffered days of violent protests. Jones claims that he has received 400 death threats and someone in the Middle East put a 2.4 million dollar bounty on his life.
These killings and threats are terribly wrong.
Just as Jones’ actions don’t represent mainstream Christianity, I do not believe these killings in Afghanistan represent mainstream Islam. Last fall Chain of lakes hosted Kashif Saroya, who is part of the Islamic Resource Center in the Twin Cities. Saroya patiently explained to us that night that the actions like the ones recently done in Afghanistan do not represent Islam. In fact Saroya shared that Isalm is a religion of peace.
I know that many stereotypes about Islam exist in our country. My prayer is the recent killings in Afghanistan don’t deepen these beliefs.