“Since American liberals don’t have the guts to say it, allow me: The Rev. Terry Jones hasn’t done anything wrong. Nothing.”
So writes my friend and conservative radio host Michael Graham in the Boston Herald. And, on this, I think Michael’s nuts.
The above is from Jonah Goldberg of the Los Angeles Times. If you don’t recall, Terry Jones is the anti-Muslim Pastor of the small Florida Christian congregation who encourages the literal burning of the Koran. Jones held a “trail” against the Koran and to the surprise of no one, the Koran was found guilty of various “crimes.”
When reading about this, what immediately struck me was the fact that these crimes of which Jones is accusing the Koran with fiery hatred also exist in his beloved Christian Bible. If you really want to get into it, there are few ancient books that can match the Judeo-Christian Bible for spiteful violence and depravity. Of course there are plenty of valuable moral teachings within the pages of all holy books, but this does not excuse the moral atrocities present.
But it’s ok because Jones is merely exercising his American right to Free Speech. Sure he is, but his right to free speech does not include to right to be free from criticism. Luckily enough, Jones’ stint in the mainstream media was relatively short-lived. He was recognized as the extremist he is and the country moved on. The problem remains, however, that voices like those of Rev. Jones are being heard around the world.
Jonah Goldberg writes in the LA Times:
If, as we are so often told, the Muslim world is enduring a civil war between the crazies and the moderates, what good comes from Koran-burning? It offends “good” and “bad” Muslims alike. Moderate Muslims who seek to yank their societies out of the Dark Ages surely winced at Jones’ stunt, and jihadists undoubtedly celebrated their propaganda windfall.
I think Goldberg gets it right on the money. Criticism of religious extremism in the form of Islamophobia is harmful in more ways than one. Instead of calling for the hands of those moderate Muslims who would surely be level-headed allies in the struggle against religious extremism, American fear and distrust of the Muslim world shuts off potential friendships. Lets just hope voices of those like Rev. Jones decrease further and further in volume and those clear-minded moderates become louder and more powerful.
Goldberg’s article: HERE
Washington Post Article on the Reverend’s Effect: HERE