Who is at "fault" for the brutal massacres in Afghanistan following the Florida Koran burning stunt? Certainly, it was a stupid, pointless thing to do. As a Christian, I see no way in which the actions of Terry Jones could further the cause of Christ (that said, it wouldn't be the first time God used a donkey to accomplish his purposes!). At least twenty have been killed - two beheaded - in the name of Allah, supposedly because an obscure Florida pastor burned some words printed on paper.
Of course, to a certain strain of Muslims, these are fighting words, and any and all infidels are fair game now, supposedly as a result of this one man's actions. Or maybe they just enjoy killing and fighting and it didn't take a whole lot to inflame them. The New York Times reports:
"Both Afghan and international news media had initially played down or ignored the actions of Mr. Jones, the Florida pastor. On Thursday, however, President Karzai made a speech and issued statements condemning the Koran burning and calling for the arrest of Mr. Jones for his actions. On Friday, that theme was picked up in mosques throughout Afghanistan.
“Karzai brought this issue back to life, and he has to take some responsibility for starting this up,” said a prominent Afghan businessman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution if he was identified as a critic of the president.
“Karzai’s speech itself provoked people to take such actions,” said Qayum Baabak, a political analyst in Mazar-i-Sharif. “Karzai should have called on people to be patient rather than making people more angry.”So Afghan president Karzai (our ally, right?), called his troops to action and they responded by going on a murderous rampage. Hamid Karzai responded by asking U.S. lawmakers to officially condemn the (1st amendment-protected) Koran burning, asking them to "condemn the act in strong words... and bring those responsible to justice." Bring them to justice? Like the kind his people meted out to U.N. workers? I wonder what he means? Those are potentially chilling words. So is Hamid Karzai to blame for the violence?
One voice that has not been given much attention has been that of Hamid Karzai's brother. CNN reports:
"The protests in the last two days in Kandahar have no link to the Quran burning in U.S. at all, but were all organized by some people to loot public and government properties," Ahmad Wali Karzai told CNN, adding that he condemned the desecration of Islam's holy book."Never mind, the "Blame the Koran Burning Meme" rolled on:
Senator Harry Reid, on Face the Nation refused to say whether the Senate would pass a resolution condemning Terry Jones, however he acknowledged that "Ten to twenty people have been killed" and "We'll take a look at this of course...as to whether we need hearings or not, I don't know."
Senator Lindsay Graham said, "I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war. During World War II, we had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy."
He added, "Burning a Koran is a terrible thing, but it doesn't justify killing someone. Burning a Bible would be a terrible thing, but it wouldn't justify murder. But having said that, any time we can push back here in America against actions like this that put our troops at risk, we ought to do it."
So is the First Amendment to blame?
President Obama condemned the violence against the U.N. workers:
"Their work is essential to building a stronger Afghanistan for the benefit of all its citizens. We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to reject violence."Note the moral equivalence of "all parties." As if burning a Koran and beheading an actual human being were approximately equal on the violence scale.
Which leads The Daily Caller to ask: "The President of the United States bombs a Muslim country, and some nobody in Florida burns a Koran. Guess which one’s to blame for rioting in Afghanistan?"
No irony there.
General David Petraeus, leader of the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan issued the following statement:
"KABUL, Afghanistan – In view of the events of recent days, we feel it is important on behalf of ISAF and NATO members in Afghanistan to reiterate our condemnation of any disrespect to the Holy Quran and the Muslim faith.
We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Quran.
We also offer condolences to the families of all those injured and killed in violence which occurred in the wake of the burning of the Holy Quran.
We further hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the Holy Quran, are not representative of any of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people."CNN reports:
"U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry said in a statement that Americans respect the Quran 'and all religious texts and deplore any action that shows disrespect to any religious faith."
"NATO Ambassador Mark Sedwill of Great Britain, meanwhile, 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."Does anyone else notice a pattern here? These "international coalition" types are falling all over themselves declaring that AMERICANS DO NOT DISRESPECT THE KORAN OR ISLAM! As if that's against the law now. Perhaps it is now against some International Law that our lawmakers weaseled us into when we weren't looking. Sigh.
Here are some things to think about with this situation:
1. What Terry Jones did was stupid but he is not (ultimately) responsible for the actions of barbarians in Afghanistan who killed so indiscriminately. They are responsible and accountable for their own actions. No one, including Terry Jones, "made" them kill. They are determined to kill and will use any excuse to do so.
2. Senators Graham and Reed need to think about who/what the real enemy is here. Hint: It's not the first amendment.
3. We need to be very concerned that these "international coalition" representatives are speaking on our behalf and saying foolish things. I understand that perhaps General Petraeus thinks that his statement will help to calm the situation and pacify the murderous mob. But he goes too far in speaking on behalf of the "countries of the international community" that are represented in Afghanistan. He is first an American general, not some international therapist. As an American, I am NOT required to respect the Koran, nor am I required to respect Islam. This multiculturalism is going way too far when I am required to agree to these terms.
4. Just because I have the freedom to disrespect Islam and the Koran doesn't mean I ought to do it. As a Christian, I am to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), and deliberately angering millions of people clearly falls outside the parameters of love. Romans 12:18 says, "If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Just because I am free to disagree with Islam doesn't mean I should disrespect Muslims. I should love my neighbors and work to build bridges and relationships - FREELY choosing to do so, not because I'm forced to by some U.N. mandate.
5. This is a reminder to pray for our troops who are in constant danger. Whether or not we agree with the mission in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, Libya, our American soldiers are there voluntarily, fighting a sometimes ill-defined enemy. This event shows how events can turn deadly in an instant, simply because of an ideology and a religion built on hate and terror.