Many churches if they do anything on 9/11 it is usually a time of prayer and remembrance. Some decide to mark the day by serving others and working to meet needs in their communities. There are memorial services and candlelight vigils.
And evidently some decided to mark the day by burning Qurans.
It should go without saying, but evidently it does need to be said. Burning Qurans will do nothing to win Muslims to Jesus. I don’t know what is going through in the minds of a small Florida church that has decided on 9/11 to burn Qurans, but I think that loving Muslims is the furthest thing from it.
The Wall Street Journal reports that General David Petraeus is weighing in:
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the planned burning of Qurans on Sept. 11 by a small Florida church could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort.
Gen. David Petraeus said the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community”
Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the plans of Florida pastor Terry Jones, who has said he will burn copies of Islam’s holy book to mark the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Afghan protesters chanted "death to America," and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its troops. Some protesters threw rocks at a passing military convoy.
Military officials fear the protests will likely spread to other Afghan cities, especially if the event is broadcast or ends up on Internet video.
Mr. Jones, head of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., said in a statement that "We understand the General’s concerns. We are sure that his concerns are legitimate." Nonetheless, he added, "We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam. We will no longer be controlled and dominated by their fears and threats."
Mr. Jones has been denied a permit for the demonstration, but has said he plans to go forward with the protest.
I find it amazing that a church of only 50 is getting this type of attention.
I would also like to point out that some Muslims will protest and riot at the drop of a hat (anybody remember a particular Danish cartoons?). That behavior shouldn’t be excused, condoned and those who decide to use this opportunity to engage in such behavior need to be disciplined if they break the law. I find it pretty hypocritical that some Muslims choose to do this when Christian martyrdom and persecution in Islamic nations is commonplace.
That said, back to Dove World Outreach Center… while members of the church have a First Amendment right to do this, just like I said with the Ground Zero Mosque, having a right doesn’t make it right. Pastor Jones said he wants to send a “clear message to the radical element of Islam.” Did he stop to consider what “clear message” this sends to Muslims in his community? How does this communicate the heart of Jesus? How is this loving?
It’s not. Also, as General Petraeus points out, it’s not helpful for our mission in Afghanistan. So if for nothing else don’t do it for the troops sake. How about praying for the troops, 9/11 victims’ families and for effective evangelistic outreach into the Muslim world instead?