Pastor Terry Jones from the Church of Nowhere Important, and his vast multitude of, oh about as many as 50 on a good day, has (as we all know by now) decided to organize a book burning. As for the response, well of course a vast number of Muslims will immediately see the error of their ways, will rapidly renounce Islam, and rush out for an immediate conversion at their nearest church. Er, perhaps not … instead its the usual very predictable response. Apart for the usual street protests and riots, we now also have this claim … Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born spiritual leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has supposedly issued this death fatwa against Terry Jones
Based on the Shariah it becomes Fard [a religious duty] upon every Muslim to assassinate Terry Jones should you come in close proximity to him as well as for those who support him in this cause of sin against Islam.
The offence is to our our Rubb [God], our Deen [way of life], and our Nabi [prophet].
May death overtake him.
I can’t substantiate it, so I suspect its simply wishful thinking on the part of some Islamic nobody fanatic, but if true, its not a huge surprise. Kick a wasps nest and they will all come flying out after you, anything else would have been a surprise. So, if its all very predictable and anybody breathing can see what happens next, then why is Pastor Terry doing it?
OK, let me ask you this … have you ever heard of Pastor Terry Jones before this? Nope, me neither. Now, do you know anybody who does not know who he is today? … well that’s why he did it. Its a power trip, the scope of the attention he suddenly has must be truly quite a rush, he even has the attention of half the Pentagon and Obama (needless to say, they are all calling him a Jerk). He will never admit he glories in all this attention, and will instead make statements about his belief that his imaginary friend is real, that the Islamic imaginary friend is fake, and so he feels its quite appropriate and fully justifiable to piss all over their supposedly holy texts because his interpretation of his holy texts tell him its OK to do so.
Will he really do it, or will he back down? Are you kidding, of course he will do it. To declare and then fail to deliver is not an option, but for the sake of good publicity he will huff and puff a bit, then under the guise of doing what his imaginary God tells him is right, will go for it.
What then? … he will draw bigger numbers, bigger donations, and also will proceed to ride the wave of fame. The risk of somebody actually harming him is low. Remember, only 50 other nutters ever managed to find his church, so the chances of some Islamic nutter actually managing to navigate their way to him are quite low … the US is quite big and has plenty of room to hide in.
Do I support it or oppose it? Well, there are times when its appropriate to protest. For example, PZ desecrating a supposedly sanctified cracker as a protest again nutty Catholics issuing death threats against a student for keeping his cracker after Mass, or the “Everybody Draw Mohammad” campaign as a protest against Muslims imposing their crazy values on others who are not Muslim. The core of such actions is the defence of basic liberties. Its fine for folks to believe whatever they want, but it is never ever appropriate to start imposing your nuttiness on others, and so when they step over this line, you need to push back. Does this book burning fit into this category? No, he’s simply a religion nut.
One other thought you should remember, its just a book, paper and ink … it should not be a big deal … the proper response from all others should be “so what” … alas, the media, the US administration plus uncle Tom Cobley and son all appear to have gone almost semi-hysterical about it all, and thats truly not helping.
So how can I sum all this up? Well, let me try by putting it all another way. What we have here is a very small bunch of religious nutters who have taken a conscious decision to be complete dicks by pissing off another bunch of religious nutters by pressing one of their hot buttons…
…with the media joining in and fanning the flames, its really really not going to end well.