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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

A Double-Take on Burning the Qu'ran

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 10, 2010

This just in from the “Where do we get these people?” department:

The Reverend Terry Jones has announced that he won’t burn the Qu'ran after all. Jones had provoked an international uproar with his plan to burn a copy of the Qu'ran on the anniversary of 9/11.

In the midst of the uproar, President Obama urged Jones to listen to “those better angels”, since burning the Qu'ran would endanger U.S. troops and provide Islamic extremists with a recruiting tool. And Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually called Jones personally to talk him out of his plan. That call took place during a meeting of Jones with Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, during which Jones claims (and Musri denies) that a deal was struck to cancel the book burning in exchange for a pledge to move the Islamic community center proposed for construction near Ground Zero in New York.

As of this writing, it has become clear to Jones that he has no such deal, and that the leader of the New York project has not even spoken with Imam Musri. Nonetheless, Jones says he concluded in prayer that if the Islamic center was moved, it would be a sign from God that He did not want the Qu'ran to be burned, and he still expresses the hope that everything will work out. He accuses Imam Musri of lying to him, but Musri says he just promised to try to set up a meeting between Jones and his New York counterpart, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

Jones is the pastor of a Pentecostal church in South Florida, the Dove Outreach Center, which has just 50 members. It is pretty clear that he is considerably out of his depth in every aspect of this affair, beginning with his half-baked spiritual conclusions. Jones is, I suppose, a walking argument against the constant splintering of Christianity, and the resulting creation of instant “reverends” with no one to guide and correct them.

But Jones is also far more malleable than he seemed originally. Yesterday, he was fully converted to the anti-burning cause. “We are, of course, now against any other group burning Qu'rans,” he said in an interview. “We would right now ask no one to burn Qu'rans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it.”

No kidding.

But what's not so funny, according to the FBI, is that there have been over 50 death threats against Jones and his family. It would be very sad indeed if this were the reason for Jones' change of heart.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Hugh of St. Victor - Sep. 12, 2010 9:03 AM ET USA

    Hilaire Belloc argues that Mohammad established nothing more than a heresy of Christianity. In other words in the region in which he started 80 some wars or battles most of the folks living in AD 630 were Catholic. Of course Jones is a heretic as well as the founders of his religion who eliminated almost everything Catholic including the Mass as did the founder of the Muslim religion. However Jones and his heretical agenda is peaceful as opposed to the Muslims' view of the end justifies the means.

  • Posted by: bsp1022 - Sep. 11, 2010 1:48 PM ET USA

    "There are none so blind as those who will not see." [John Heywood 1546]

  • Posted by: - Sep. 10, 2010 9:15 PM ET USA

    "Jones is, I suppose, a walking argument against the constant splintering of Christianity, and the resulting creation of instant “reverends”..." And perhaps a correction, "the latest walking argument," may be in order. But, and my source for this is an Egyptian scholar by the name of Raymond Ibrahim, Jones could very well have been lied to by Musri, since Islam permits Muslims to lie to non-believers. In fact, lying is one of the least offenses that Muslims may do to non-believers.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Sep. 10, 2010 8:15 PM ET USA

    If Muslims are so touchy that the Secretary of Defense has to call a guy with a 50 person congregation here in Gainesville to warn him that violence and chaos will ensue if he burns the book then what does that say about Muslims? Time and time again Muslims threaten to rampage and kill over any perceived criticism of their religion. I don't agree with the burning but will we silence ourselves into submission and continue to cower in fear? If Muslims want respect in America they have to earn it.

  • Posted by: FredC - Sep. 10, 2010 7:50 PM ET USA

    The splintering of Christianity is nothing compared to the splintering of Islam, where every imam is independent and can interpret and implement the Quran as he wishes. This independence is seen in the fact that Musri has not contacted Rauf. They have no religious connection with each other.

  • Posted by: lynnvinc7142 - Sep. 10, 2010 5:43 PM ET USA

    Aside from burning the Koran being unChristian & putting Christians at risk (and Jones himself and his own family at risk), you know who they would take it out on...the most visible of the Christain churches, the Catholics. We don't need any more Eucharist desecration videos on YouTube (which actually might please Jones, as it did some Protestants at the time)...