Burning Ignorance, Not the Koran

Florida Pastor Terry Jones did not burn copies of the Koran on September 11, 2010. Nor will he ever—according to his statement on NBC’s ‘Today” show.

The argument was a heated and emotional fight between an angry Pastor—with history of manipulation and fraud within his congregation—and the rest of the world.

The burning of the Koran—according to Jones—was to prove the violent principles of the Islamic faith. Jones received over 100 death threats after his plans were released to the world via American media. This proved to him that, indeed, the Islamic faith is a violent one.

This argument is so skewed that it is hard to listen to, let alone defend. The burning of a religious text of any kind, will send only one message—hate. This ignorant persecution will only feed the fire between the Western world and the Middle East.

After reaching a national level of attention, many Americans spoke out against the pastor’s plans. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, made comments referring to the irresponsibility of the scheduled event to be known as ‘Burn a Koran Day’—as did President Obama.

Whatever was said behind closed doors to end this escapade was necessary to attempt to make peace with a turbulent part of the world. The fact that the event will ‘never happen’ tells us that someone intervened.

In order to become the melting pot that America claims to be, people must learn to be accepting of others’ cultures and beliefs. This includes the location of these groups’ places of worship.

The ‘Ground-Zero Mosque’ is really a Muslim-sponsored interfaith community center that will be two blocks from Ground Zero itself—two blocks in New York City is a hefty walk. This is the first of many misconceptions that the media has created for the American people.

The most responsible thing to do as citizens during such a controversial debate is to honor the constitution. Either you believe in its values—or you don’t. If rising above evil is really the goal, then welcoming this faith into one of our greatest cities is the way to do it.

Many argue that the spot could be further, in order to honor those fallen during the attacks of September 11, 2001. While a solid argument, this is not up for citizens to decide. The wisdom of the location is not in question—most Americans are not thrilled. However, being American means more than waving the stars and stripes.

Being American means standing for what is just. In our just society, those who want to open an establishment—following our laws and regulations—can do so without prejudice towards their faith.

These are the same injustices that multiple groups have faced in this country. Have we forgotten? (The civil rights movement, immigration of the early 1900s, Japanese internment camps, and the communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, among others).

In order to move forward with Arab-American relations, our country must stand together in knowing that all people have the right to practice their beliefs. Anyone fighting against this standard, is fighting what our founding fathers died to ensure.

In a general sense, people are good. Evil does not have a religious constant, or a favorite skin color. Evil is born when ignorance and anger combine. Stay informed by reading unbiased news—not believing everything you hear on TV.

Hopefully, this event will remind us to stay faithful to the most sacred ideal of our nation—freedom.