Sunday, August 01, 2010

“Burn a Koran Day” church says Islam is violent; Islamists respond with threats of violence

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Koran in fire
Burning Koran
[source: Orlando Sentinel]

If there’s one thing that’s amusing about religious fundies, it’s how incredibly predictable they always make themselves out to be. Open a reproductive health clinic, watch the Christian anti-abortionists come out in droves.[1] Attempt to fight the peddling of Creationist nonsense in schools, watch the calls of “religious discrimination” go up. And, perhaps most ironically of all, whenever someone decries a certain group for being violent extremists, they shall inevitably respond with … well, love and peace. What do you think?

Such is the case with the non-denominational Dove World Outreach Center church out of Gainesville, Florida, who recently launched what you may know as “International Burn a Koran Day”. Because nothing speaks of modernity, compassion, acceptance and outreach (which is in their name, no?) like hosting a worldwide burning of a religion’s sacred book.

The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.

As much as I am all for pointing out and ridiculing religious silliness and opposing dangerous fundies and radicals, there must be a point being made that contributes to society in a meaningful and productive manner, such as upholding free speech and the right to criticize religion (which is what such things as “Blasphemy Day”, held on September 30, and “Draw Muhammad Day”, are all about). Launching an event based on calling an entire religion “of the devil” will accomplish absolutely nothing other than to rile people up for no good reason. It’s plain intolerance and nothing more.

Thankfully, both Christian and Islamic groups have openly denounced the event and urge the Dove World Outreach church to cancel this ill-advised event. But perhaps the amusing part in all this (which is also somewhat chilling) is, as I mentioned earlier, the utter predictability of certain groups:

The church's plans have grabbed the attention of the Islamist movement. Members of the al-Falluja online forum have reportedly promised to "spill rivers of your (American) blood" if the event goes forward.

Okay, I know this really ought to be obvious to anyone with more than two functioning braincells in their heads, but: Folks, when someone calls you out for being violent extremists, the best way to respond in order to try and refute their claims probably isn’t to solidify your reputation as being violent extremists by launching death threats. You morans.

This is just a very stupid situation overall. Bigoted Christians are rejoicing at the prospect of deliberately insulting and provoking Muslims on the anniversary of 9/11, and the usual Islamists are throwing around their usual threats (which always seem to involve “rivers of blood”, unimaginatively enough) as if anyone ever heeded them anymore. As to whether these threats are bluffs or not, well, we can only hope that either the event will fall flat before its planned execution, or that Muslims will keep their heads on, realize that it’s only a small part of Christians who are engaging in this stupid crap, and not do anything stupid to reaffirm the accusations of violence aimed at them.

We’ll see.

(via Blag Hag)

[1] Bonus points if it’s a Planned Parenthood clinic.