Two wrongs never make a right, and this was tragically proven last week.
First off was Terry Jones, the publicity-hound pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, who organized a kangaroo court and mock trial of the Islamic faith. Naturally, this act of intolerance by Jones and his handful of followers culminated with the burning of a copy of the Koran in a form of protest echoing similar tactics used by Hitler and the Nazis.
Publicity of this senseless and ignorant stunt traveled fast in this age of the 24-hour news cycle and the Internet. Images of Jones burning the Koran made their way across the world and eventually reached a bunch of fanatical Imans in Afghanistan, who used it as another reason to convince their followers to commit murder and mayhem.
It didn’t take long for violent protests to begin in Kandahar, Afghanistan as men rampaged through the streets flying the Taliban flag. They marched through the streets and set fire to cars and tires, burned the president in effigy and attacked journalists who were trying to cover the disorder. Shops and business were closed and most people stayed off the street.
This area had been kept under control after a surge of additional American troops were sent there, but the undercurrent of those who hate America and all it stands for quickly rose to the top like scum in a pot of rancid soup.
The protests continued onto another day and rioters attacked a school for girls, burning some classrooms and a school bus. The school is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Taliban have constantly opposed education for girls. Later, the gang overran a United Nations compound, killing at least 12 people. They methodically hunted down staff members and murdered any they could find.
Mind you, these are the people to whom America is trying to teach democracy. What a delusional idea. For centuries, Afghanistan has been comprised of tribal sects ruled by warlords who cannot and will not change their ways. Now 10 years into this conflict—started initially to find Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks—American soldiers continue to die, Afghanistan is neither stable nor democratic and bin Laden (for all we know) remains hiding unmolested in some God-forsaken cave.
Aside from this, there is another group of lunatics in this country known as the Westboro Baptist Church, who mount homophobic, attention-getting protests outside of funerals. They claim that dead soldiers are—in the crazy logic only they understand—God’s punishment for this country’s tolerance of people with different sexual preferences.
The Westboro Baptist Church, Terry Jones and the Imans in Afghanistan do share something in common: they exploit their respective faiths to promote their own violent and ignorant agendas. Their common craziness gives religion a bad name.
Every faith has its group of fanatics, and when rightfully shunned, they have no power. Perhaps such hatred and violence would be curtailed if the media stopped giving these book-burning bigots the attention they want and need.
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