US pastor Terry Jones cancels Koran burning

From BBC News:

The pastor of a small US church who planned to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 has cancelled his protest.

Terry Jones said he was calling off the event after the group behind a planned Islamic centre near Ground Zero in New York agreed to relocate it.

But the cultural centre’s organisers said they had no plans to move it.

He had been telephoned by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to urge him to reconsider his plans as well as being visited several times by the FBI.

Phew, thank goodness that’s over with….

Oh….

On Koran-Burning

Yglesias:

Now all that said, it’s kind of nuts, isn’t it, that we have the general in charge of an ongoing war commenting on some guy in Florida being a jerk. Even nuttier is that he might well be right that this episode will endanger the lives of Americans soldiers. But that really raises deeper issues about Afghan society and the wisdom and nature of America’s engagement with it. The essence of a digital, globalized world with billions of inhabitants is that there’s always going to be some jerk somewhere doing something ridiculous. “Guy in Florida deliberately trying to antagonize Muslims” can’t become a global news story every time it happens.

Setting the Koran on fire, vs. setting personal liberties on fire

Pharyngula:

President Obama, you’re a damned fool.

What are you going to do, send in the national guard to prevent Terry Jones’ congregation from destroying their own private property? Will there be new legislation to list items that may not be treated disrespectfully? Shall we surrender a few more liberties because religious zealots are threatening us? Obama can do nothing and should do nothing; he accomplishes nothing by complaining about it, other than being part of the mob confirming the madness of the defenders of faith.

And to suggest that some guy burning a book in a remote land will incite more anti-American sentiment is absurd. We’ve got drones buzzing over Iraq and Afghanistan killing people with a push of a button; we’ve got an armed force occupying those countries; we have bombed their infrastructure into rubble. We’ve killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims. And now we’re to believe that their love of the West will be suddenly devastated by a video of paper burning on youtube? Get a grip, man.

The United States does have an obligation to protect the basic and fundamental rights of all Americans, and that includes allowing them to burn their own property, in addition to allowing them to practice the religion of their choice.

Here’s a hint for appropriate responses. When someone tells you it’s an outrage to burn a bible or a Koran, shrug your shoulders and say, “So what? It’s their own book.” When someone announces that they are going to riot and murder because they are offended, look at them like they’re insane, and explain that offending someone is not a capital crime.

The problem isn’t a few books being burned; that’s not a crime, and it doesn’t diminish anyone else’s personal freedoms. The problem is a whole fleet of deranged wackaloons, including the president of the USA in addition to raving fundamentalist fanatics, who think open, public criticism and disagreement ought to be forbidden, somehow.

And seriously, this whole silly contretemps would have evaporated if a few people learned to shrug their shoulders and react rationally instead of feeding the fury with Serious Pronouncements and Reprovals.

Obama: Quran Burning Could Incite ‘Individuals Who’d Be Willing To Blow Themselves Up In American Cities’

Perhaps, but I wouldn’t count out our habit of bombing Islamic countries as being a tad more inciteful:

On ABC’s Good Morning America, President Obama condemned hate pastor Terry Jones’ plans to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11. Deploring it as a “stunt” and a “destructive act,” Obama argued the planned event “is completely contrary to our values of Americans.” Obama then offered an explicit national security argument against Jones’ hate campaign, even suggesting that it could increase the possibility of suicide bombers on American soil