Rev Terry Jones “Burn a Koran” day this 9/11 because “Islam is of the devil” offers a lesson to us all. Drawing support from the Bible, Tertullian (“The Father of Latin Christianity”), Saint Clement of Alexandria, and numerous medieval clerics considered womanhood the foulest crime and deepest shame. To declare this behavior as representative of Christianity would be absurd and indicative of one falling victim to phobia.
Muslims believe Jesus [on whom be peace] was a prophet of God and the Bible as a holy book revealed unto Jesus. Rev Jones overlooks these facts and plans to celebrate a ‘Burn the Quran’ day on 9/11.
Jones should understand that Islam is not what Osama bin Laden or Faisal Shehzad believes it to be. Islam is what the Quran says and what Prophet Muhammad practiced. Islam believes in religious liberty and free speech. The Qur’an (2:257) says, “There is no compulsion in religion.” Prophet Muhammad was a champion of religious tolerance and freedom. Jews coexisted with Muslims in Medina and Muhammad openly declared that any Muslim that harmed Christians would spoil God’s covenant and disobey him, “Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.”
As an Ahmadi Muslim, I condemn in the worst possible manner the maltreatment of minorities in certain parts of the Muslim world. How can a Muslim hate a Jew or a Christian when the Quran calls them ‘the People of the Book’ and marriage to them is permitted? Truly, illiteracy and “Mullahism” – the spread of the power of orthodox clergy, the same type of orthodoxy that corrupted the Medieval Church – are to blame.
Jones claims the Muslims “desire is to rule, reign and take over”, again conflating Islam with extremism. Jones’ words remind one of the Christian missions that conquered many parts of Africa, South Asia and America under the guise of the Cross.
Jones also accuses Islam of preaching ‘wife beating and honor killings’. While some Muslims do commit these crimes, Islam is not to blame. Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] declared that paradise lay beneath the feet of mothers and instructed that salvation could be obtained by educating one’s daughters and bringing them up with good morals. Not only are Jones’ allegations against Islam false, but the Church, we know, had a position that rivaled that of the Taliban.
Jones demands all American-Muslims to adapt to local values, “They should be made to sign a legal, binding document, pledging allegiance … to their new home, the USA.” It may surprise Jones that loyalty to one’s country is a tenet of Islam. Of the 2 million American Muslims, the overwhelming majority work for its betterment no differently than non-Muslim Americans do. For such as harbor confused identities, the confusion is theirs – Islam is not to blame. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has had an aggressive stance on this subject. It has categorically stated that those who have divided loyalties should leave America – love it or leave it! Rev Jones paranoia regarding American-Muslims loyalty to America rivals that of Romans paranoid of Christian loyalty to its rule in the first two centuries of Christianity.
Jones suggests that the building of all mosques in America should stop immediately until the building of churches in Muslim dominated countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq is permitted. Just as those Christian warriors who expelled Jews and Muslims from Spain under the Alhambra Decree and destroyed or converted all their places of worship into churches cannot define Christianity, the despotic and totalitarian regimes of Saudi Arabia or Iran do not define Islam.
Jones states that, “We must not forget, Sharia Law calls for the death of homosexuals, the death of adulterers, and inhumane punishment of criminals.” Sharia does not prescribe the death penalty for any crime short of murder. What we see in parts of the Muslim world is again the reflection of the ignorant clerics.
Jones seems to be suggesting that America should undo its values of freedom of religion and return to the Medieval Age. As he preaches hate against Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is busy campaigning for peace. The ‘Muslims for peace’ campaign [www.muslimsforpeace.org] successfully runs in many American cities and is spreading the true and peaceful message of Islam. We invite Rev Jones to the discussion table to debate these values in peace.
By burning the Quran on 9/11, Jones will imply that those 9/11 victims that revered the Quran were lesser Americans. He will also be blaspheming against Jesus and Mary [on them be peace] who the Quran extols. He will be disobeying Jesus himself who has clearly asked him to love his enemies. Jones says he is doing all this in love of Muslims. He should not be surprised if ignorant and crazy extremists chose to show him similar love in return. After all love breeds love!
While Jesus preached peace, the medieval Church brutally persecuted followers of other faiths. How fair would it be to celebrate a ‘Burn the Bible’ day based on these violent and hateful episodes in the history of Christianity? In orchestrating the “Burn a Quran” day Jones, and his Church, is making a choice between American values and the sordid Medieval Age.