The deadliest attack against the UN in Afghanistan since 2001 occurred today as protests over a Florida Pastor’s Quran burning turned violent. The attack occurred in Mazar-i-Sharif and the fatalities included 7 UN workers, consisting of 3 civilians and 4 Nepalese security guards from a private firm, as well as 5 of the attackers.
As you may recall, last summer an American Pastor from an extremely small church in Florida made headlines over his plan to burn the Quran. He got more than his 15 mins of fame over the deal, and eventually cooler heads prevailed and the burning was put to an end…at least temporarily.
According to CNN:
The church says on its website that it planned to put the Quran on trial on March 20, and, “if found guilty of causing murder, rape and terrorism, it will be executed!” Another post on the website, which uses an alternative spelling for the book, says “the Koran was found guilty” during the mock trial and “a copy was burned inside the building.”
There is something ironic about the whole situation. The church put on trial an inanimate object for the crime of “causing murder, rape, and terrorism”. They then burned the Quran, a move that they were warned and knew had the high likelihood of inflaming anger, causing violence, and costing lives.
Now, obviously, there is no excuse for what the murderers did in Afghanistan, they should be held accountable in a court of law. But, the act by this pastor and church should also be condemned. Knowingly and purposefully inciting anger by defaming another religion’s symbols is wrong.
I am currently reading Allah: A Christian Response by Miroslav Wolf. While discussing the issue of the Dutch comic’s depiction of Muhammad that occured several years ago, he twice quotes Pope Benedict XVI. His wise words offered during that situation, fit just as well today:
First, to those who think that burning the Quran and inciting hatred is acceptable:
“In the international context we are living in at present, the Catholic Church continues to be convinced that, to foster peace and understanding between peoples and men, it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected. Believers should not be the object of provocations that wound their lives and religious sentiments.”
And to those who are offended and would consider violence in return:
“Intolerance and violence can never be justified as a response to offenses, as they are not compatible responses with the sacred principles of religion.
A time has come to end the “my religion can beat up your religion” rubbish.