At this moment it is unclear if the proposed Burn a Koran Day will go ahead or not and I for one really hope it doesn’t. For those of you who have not heard about this the idea was dreamed up by Reverend Terry Jones, a Florida based pastor, as a protest against Islam and a memorial for those who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001, though obviously not for the Muslim victims. On the Facebook page for this event Reverend Jones has stated the following:
“On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm – 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”
As I write this the latest on this story seems to be that, after stating earlier that the event would be cancelled, Reverend Jones plans to “rethink” the idea after local Muslim leader Imam Muhammad Musri denied that any deal had been struck to move the proposed Park51 community centre away, sorry make that further away, from the Ground Zero site. Jones has stated that on Saturday, the day planned for the Koran burning, he will be travelling to New York to meet with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf about the proposed location of the centre. However it is unclear if the actual book burning part of his plan is back on or not.
Either way the reason I mention this is in order to draw attention to what I think is by far the best response to this proposed event that I have come across so far. International Read a Book Day. I love this idea, not just because I love reading anyway but because I feel it is exactly the sort of approach that should be taken against something stupid like Burn a Koran Day. It is a reasoned, measured reaction that clearly gets the point across, shows solidarity and respect for people who may believe differently than we do and promotes something constructive. What’s more is that the people behind this are Christians. Yup for once we see moderate Christians standing up against the more fundamental members of their religion. Here’s what Facebook page has to say on the matter:
“In July of this year, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida announced September 11 this year would be “Burn a Koran Day.” We believe that the burning of a Koran, or any other book, while it may be within the rights of free speech, is a tasteless and disturbing gesture that only communicates contempt and ignorance. Instead, we invite the international community to celebrate “Read a Book Day.” Burning books has never made a society better, but reading them has.”
So this September 11th I will be sitting down to read a book and remembering all those who died on that terrible day nine years ago. Will you join me?