Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

Pastor Terry Jones and the unfairness to Muslims

Muslims and their holy book are once again embroiled in anger and suspicion on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York (report, 10 September).

Pastor Terry Jones, to the relief of many the world over, has apparently decided to call off his "Burn a Koran day". Through his symbolic gesture he planned to convince the world that Islam and its followers are "evil". His decision may have been partly in response to critical reactions to his plan, but most of the criticisms were based on the possible backlash against, and repercussions for, American troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries around the world and on the effect on America's image abroad. The morality, legality and ethics of the act itself were not considerations. In fact, the American constitution protects such acts.

Among the many people decrying the intended burning was Hillary Clinton, who described the action as being carried out by a small group of unrepresentative people headed by Pastor Jones.

Unfortunately Muslims could not become the beneficiary of the same logic when a much smaller number of people than Pastor Jones's group decided to attack the World Trade Centre killing over 3,000 innocent individuals, and subsequently the London Underground and buses, taking many more innocent lives.

Each and every Muslim the world over was considered culpable. Muslim-specific laws, programmes, and policies have been put in place to prevent future terrorist attacks. The war on terror was imposed by the combined military might of the Nato alliance on countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, and has resulted in the death and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is slated to be in the list of honours of the German Chancellor for defending "freedom of speech". Salman Rushdie has already been knighted. Perhaps Pastor Jones is in line for similar honours.

Anwer Kirmani, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph