In one sense I can’t quite believe the headlines surrounding the storyof a pentecostal preacher in Florida who believes that Islam is the work of the devil and is vowing to go ahead with the burning of 200 copies of the Qur’an on Saturday in the face of expressions of horror and foreboding from across America and the rest of the world.
The extremist views of the pastor, Terry Jones, and his Dove World Outreach Center, a small church with about 50 members, do not normally attract much attention. But Jones’s threat to create a bonfire of the Islamic faith’s holy book on the lawn of his church on a day that heralds both the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and Eid, the end of Ramadan, has put him at the centre of a storm.
In one sense I understand the importance of religious freedom and that people should be able to express their opinions, but this seems to be such an extreme opinion. I was surprised to hear that America has no equivalent of our relgious intolerance and extremism laws which outlaw some of the more extreme behaviours.
I’d much rather see inter-faith dialogue and discussion on topics like the Qu’ran and the Bible rather than burn books, and I hope that people remember that just as not all Muslims are suicide bombers so not all Christians are Qur’an burners.