Friday, September 10, 2010

"International Burn a Koran Day" postponed as Pastor Jones claims deal to relocate Ground Zero Islamic Centre, three people shot in Afghanistan

Dear All

It seems that Pastor Terry Jones has seen the light and postponed plans to burn copies of the Koran.

If he had chosen to do so, it would have been legal under his right to freedom of expression.

Which some people find confusing but the First Amendment to the US constitution is quite clear:

"Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble."

Prof Tim Zick is a First Amendment specialist from the William and Mary Law School states:

"The fundamental principle is that the government cannot restrict speech based on its content, even if an audience finds it offensive."

He added:

"A speaker's autonomy to express himself - even in this deeply offensive manner - is, if not sacrosanct, then very highly regarded."

If the American authorities had want to stop the open air Koran burning event then they would have to use other powers, Jones would need a permit to hold an outdoor fire in Florida.

That isn't glamorous but it has teeth.

Elsewhere in places like Afghanistan, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets over the plans.

And some people have unfortunately been hurt; three people were shot when a protest near a Nato base in the north-east of the country turned violent.

This is three people injured because of a thoughtless act by Pastor Jones.

Whether you believe in religion or not, you should respect other people’s beliefs because that is a sign of tolerance.

In Afghanistan, demonstrators burned a US flag and chanted:

"Death to Christians".

These were Muslims who had just finished prayers.

Jones told reporters he had been waiting for a sign from God to cancel his Koran burning.

To that end he said a deal with Imam Muhammad Musri, from the Islamic Society of Central Florida regarding relocating a controversial Islamic cultural centre due to be built near Ground Zero in New York which came up during discussions.

This Islamic Centre in New York at Ground Zero will not bring peace and understanding as the imam of the centre, Feisal Abdul Rauf says.

It will only reinforce anti muslim feelings and hate.

Is building this centre so close to Ground Zero a good idea?

No, it is like mentality exhibited by Pastor Jones, non concern for the sensitivities of others of a different religion.

Feisal Abdul Rauf like Jones has legal right on his side but not moral right.

Since "International Burn a Koran Day" has caused such a stir others may join that bandwagon and all because Feisal Abdul Rauf isn’t tolerant.

But then he probably doesn’t care what Christians or victims families of 9/11 think.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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