Don’t Blame Jesus or Muhammad for This

By now you’ve heard that violent mobs in Afghanistan have slaughtered several people in retaliation for the burning of a Q’ran by the not reverent Terry Jones of the hilariously misnamed Dove World Outreach Center in Florida.

How disgusted am I? Let me count the ways …

I can’t think of a proper word for randomly slaughtering westerners because of what some whackjob in Florida did to a book. Evil, unjust, barbaric, inexcusable. If we were talking about some Stone Age tribe living in isolation in the Amazon somewhere I might just chalk it up to ignorance, but nobody else gets off the hook for this. If one is educated enough to know that the earth is not flat, one should be able to understand that not all westerners are to blame for the actions of one.

Of course, our native Islamophobes like Pam Geller and Peter King are no less bigoted. Lizard brains, the lot of them.

And once again demonstrating that he doesn’t know the Sermon on the Mount from the Yellow Pages, the not reverend Jones is demanding retribution for the slaughter that his actions touched off. After all kinds of people begged him to not act out and burn a Q’ran because it would set back whatever it is his country is doing in Afghanistan, this jerk burns a Q’ran anyway. It’s beyond disgusting.

At least one rightie blogger — I’m sure there are more — is saying that Jones is not responsible for the massacre. And I understand the argument; rational people don’t kill other, innocent, people, because they share some kind of loose racial or national association with assholes who did something insulting to one’s religion.

At the same time, however, rational people don’t go ahead and pull some stupid publicity stunt after it’s been exhaustively explained to them that the consequences could be genuinely horrific and harmful to their country.

In other words, if we hadn’t already been through this with Jones, it might have been argued that he didn’t realize what the consequences of his acts might be. But he was told.

In America, Jones’s right to burn any book he wants to burn is pretty much absolute. Even if 99.9 percent of his fellow countrypersons want to smack him for what he did, we can’t do it without getting jail time. This may be incomprehensible to many people living in the Middle East, and they don’t seem to be in a mood to listen to explanations. We can only hope there are some cooler heads among the Afghanis, and that the cooler heads may prevail.

But Jones is likely to continue to burn Q’rans as long as he can get attention for doing so. Perhaps the argument could be made that Jones’s stunt amounts to yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater, and he could be placed under some restraining order to burn no more Q’rans. That would likely set off more Q’ran burning by other dimwits in protest of the violation of Jones’s rights, however, so even that could backfire.

Sometimes we really are all at the mercy of the stupid and sociopathic among us.

Anyway — I’m no expert in Islam, but my understanding is that the mob violence in Afghanistan really isn’t justified by anything Muhammad taught. And Jones apparently uses the Gospel as toilet paper. So don’t blame Jesus or Muhammad for this. And in the absence of religion, a true fanatic will always find something else to be fanatic about.

See also: “This attack is different.”

23 thoughts on “Don’t Blame Jesus or Muhammad for This

  1. Now, if the (not)Reverand Jones wanted to go to Afghanistan to burn a Q’ran, I’d pay to watch that as a pay-per-view event.

    But, I suspect, the only thing this coward would burn over there is rubber, setting the Christian Land-speed Record for getting out.

    But no, instead, this gutless media whore sits in the safey of his little jerkwater church in Florida burning other peoples holy books.

    I also suspect that it wasn’t just the book burning that might have pissed these Afghani’s off. Ten years of occupation and slaughter might have had a little bit to do with it as well.

    “Sometimes we really are all at the mercy of the stupid and sociopathic among us.”
    I think the reason that they feel free to act out in today’s world is that they can see that there’re a lot of people like themselves out there. They can watch FOX, listen to talk radio, or even watch our elected officials act like that on C-SPAN I & II.
    Before modern media, people like this, if they acted out at all, it was kept local.
    “Did you hear about what that crazy SOB Terry Jones did last week?”
    “Yeah, his brother swore he’d keep him locked-up in the attic from now on.”

    And usually, the local people put a stop to it, or at least kept it under their hats, lest neighboring towns think your town was crazy.
    But not anymore!
    Why contain yourself when you can watch Congress people like Gohmert, Bachmann, the asshole King’s, etc., doing pretty much the same thing?
    And hey, if you really do wrong right, you may end up on TV!

  2. I think that Prof. JUan Cole of Informed Comment has an important point when he writes:

    “I think Afghan intellectuals and leaders know that Terry Jones is a minor nut job. But this issue allows some of them to organize to protest the over 100,000 US troops in their country, which is really what they are objecting to.

    The decision of the Obama administration to do wide-ranging counter-insurgency rather than targeted counter-terrorism in Afghanistan has left that country full of frustrations with the US heavy footprint.”

    With “kill teams,” drone strikes, and general, long-term mayhem, “heavy footprint” just doesn’t do it justice, imho. Burning Korans is just a very clear reason to rally against crusading Americans.

  3. Jones, when he dies, will have to answer to a higher power.
    May he get only what he deserves.

  4. Diane,
    Something tells me that if there is indeed a higher power, it won’t be a Q’ran that’ll be burning in the Rev’s future.
    It’ll be something a lot nearer and dearer to him – his ass!
    There’s not enough bad shit that can happen to this evil asshole – in this life, and the next, if there is one.
    Enjoy your moment in the sun, Rev. You’re going to a lot hotter place when you leave this mortal coil.

  5. Don’t be so hard on the good reverend…after all he did give the Koran a fair and impartial trial and it was his parishioners who decided by vote what punishment that the Koran would suffer.. They considered drowning, hanging, and firing squad.. Don’t know if they considered lethal injection though. Anyway they acted as good and faithful Christians should.

  6. And when the likes of Geller and Gaffney were warned by the military that burning the Koran would directly endanger the lives of our soldiers in Afghanistan and probably elsewhere, the likes of Geller and Gaffney shrugged off the warning with a ‘so-what.’

    I suggest we reinstate the draft and that Geller and Gaffney be the first called up.

  7. Felicity,
    That would be a death sentence.
    The first thing any real soldier would do if they saw Geller and Gaffney in uniform, is frag them.
    Waste of good bullets.

  8. Any sufficiently complex scripture like the bible or the quran is a rorschact test. Those who are filled with anger or judgment will find scriptural precedent for that; those who have more compassion for others, and who recognize the deeper and more difficult message of loving everyone, including your enemies, will find precedent for that.

    Freud had a saying, that the intellect will be used by the ego in service of the neurosis – in other words, the mind will come up with all kinds of rationalizations and defenses. Something like that is happening here, scripture is used in the service of some sick and infantile minds.

    Just as GW Bush and OBL/Al Qaeda needed each other, so Terry Jones and the fanatics in Afghanistan are mirrors of each other.

    But there the equivalance ends. I have a lot more compassion for the people in Afghanistan who’ve been caught in the middle of a geopolitical battleground for decades, brutalized first by the Soviet Union, then by the Taliban, then by our own not-very-altruistic presence there. Our homegrown fundamentalists in Florida, in the richest country on earth, who haven’t a clue what it’s like to live under such conditions don’t have an excuse.

  9. I can’t think of a proper word for randomly slaughtering westerners because of what some whackjob in Florida did to a book.

    Or for slaughtering the five Nepalis who were trying to protect the Westerners.

  10. Don’t believe everything you read. That story has certainly manifested the hatred it was meant to inspire.

  11. My instinct is to believe the massacre occurred 15% because of what Jones did; 85% because of the 10-year Western occupation. Spark, meet tinder. Ultimately it all becomes one endless, rolling horror. None of it is justifiable.

  12. But, I suspect, the only thing this coward would burn over there is rubber, setting the Christian Land-speed Record for getting out.

    You got that right,Gulag!

  13. I’m in total agreement.
    Jones is an imbecile who should be sued in court for his provocation.The President asked him to not burn the Quran, local imans asked him him to stand down, but the jerk just had to do it.He just had to , PBUH. Stupid hick.
    From all I’ve seen and heard, Afghanistan is a mess, and America, NATO, and the UN should get the hell out.
    10 plus years of war breeds all kinds of psychopaths, there is no cure for Afghanistan but time, and it’s a quarter past time to leave.

  14. I read the “charges” that Jones’ trial found the Quran guilty of. Every one of them is present in the Old Testament in abundance. Perhaps if the worthless attention whore had ever read the Bible..nah, it wouldn’t make any difference to his small mind.

  15. If Jones wants to demand “retribution” how about he get shipped to Afghanistan to do so in person? I’m sure his demand would get all the attention it deserves.

  16. montag ..The Koran that Jones put on trial in Florida had as much chance of an acquittal as an accused blasphemer had during the Spanish inquisition.

  17. Bonnie ..I heard that Michelle Bachmann is going to have a tea party reenactment. They’re planning to storm the H.M.S. Boston in New York Harbor just like the original Tea Partiers did.

  18. The lizard-brain bigot fetishists of korans, bibles, national flags and such deserve each other. It’s sad that some UN employees had to pay for the self-indulgent anger of the willfully stupid trash of the world.

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  20. The five Nepalese guards at the U.S. compound are not “Westerners”. That is part of the tragedy of this incident. The New York Times may speak of the UN as a symbol of “Western intrusion”, but the UN is not a “Western” institution: of its 192 member states, a minority are “Western”, even by strict geographical definition. Countries like Nepal, India, Ghana, Indonesia and others make a noble contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts and often pay the price in lives lost. Also, even allowing for the vagaries of Arabic transliteration, your non-standard usage of Q’ran makes no sense. There is a “hamza” (glottal stop) in the word, but it would come after the r and before the a: Qur’an, if you are going to try to approximate the Arabic orthography. Other than that, thanks for hosting this discussion, and for your always thoughtful postings.

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