Right wing compares book burning to building a community center

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Media conservatives, led by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, are comparing a Florida church's plans to burn Qurans on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks to plans to build an Islamic community center in Manhattan.

Florida church plans to burn Islamic and Jewish religious texts

AP: Christian minister "vowed" to "burn copies of the Quran to protest the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." A September 8 Associated Press article reported, "A Christian minister vowed Tuesday to go ahead with plans to burn copies of the Quran to protest the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks despite warnings from the White House and the top U.S. general in Afghanistan that doing so would endanger American troops overseas." AP continued:

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center said he understands the government's concerns, but plans to go forward with the burning this Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the attacks.

He left the door open to change his mind, saying he is still praying about his decision, which was condemned Tuesday by an interfaith coalition that met in Washington to respond to a spike in anti-Muslim bigotry.

Gen. David Petraeus warned in an e-mail to The Associated Press that "images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan - and around the world - to inflame public opinion and incite violence."

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley echoed that, calling the plan to burn copies of the Quran "un-American" and saying it does not represent the views of most people in the U.S.

Miami Herald: Pastor "also plans to burn copies of the Talmud, a sacred Jewish text." A September 5 Miami Herald article reported that the Gainesville Dove World Outreach Center also plans to burn copies of the Talmud.

Right wing compares burning Qurans to building a community center

Beck: "It's just like the Ground Zero mosque plan." In a September 6 blog post to his website The Blaze, Glenn Beck wrote:

I'm on vacation and trying to unplug but the news can make that hard. I just read the story about the Florida church planning to burn copies of the Koran.

What is wrong with us? It's just like the Ground Zero mosque plan. Does this church have the right? Yes. Should they? No. And not because of the potential backlash or violence. Simply because it is wrong.

Palin: Quran burning "is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation - much like building a mosque at Ground Zero." In a September 8 post to her Facebook account, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin wrote:

Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation - much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.

I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. Don't feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.

Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don't need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society. In this as in all things, we should remember the Golden Rule. Isn't that what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?

Barnes: "[T]his is similar in one way to the Ground Zero mosque." On the September 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox news contributor and Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes criticized plans to burn the Quran, and claimed that "Islamophobia" was "not sweeping America." Barnes further claimed:

But look, this is similar in one way to the Ground Zero mosque, the mosque that is planned to be built on the fringe of Ground Zero. And that is, it is what Sarah Palin called an unnecessary provocation. And this is a provocation, and that's what General Petraeus is worried about.

Beck guest host Glover: "[T]his burning the Quran issue is very similar to building the mosque on ground zero." During the September 8 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, guest host Dave Glover said that the debate over whether it was appropriate to burn copies of the Quran was "about wise choices" and that "this burning of the Quran issue is very similar to the building of the mosque on ground zero." Glover further claimed, "Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should."

Bolling and Geller agree: "The sensitivity issue" of Islamic community center and burning Qurans is "the same." During the September 7 edition of Fox Business' Money Rocks, host Eric Bolling claimed, "The sensitivity issue seems to be the key here for the mosque. Is it not the same issue with the Quran burning on Saturday?" He then asked, "So therefore, if you don't want them to burn the Quran on Saturday, why wouldn't Muslims -- moderate Muslims -- simply say, 'Hey, it's too sensitive an area downtown; move the mosque?'" Guest Pamela Geller, who has helped lead the push against the Islamic community center, said that the two were "the exact same issue." Geller also said that "the burning of books is wrong."

Boehner lumps in "Pastor Jones" with "those who want to build the mosque." During the September 8 edition of ABC News' Good Morning America, host George Stephanopoulos asked House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) about Jones' plans to burn copies of the Quran. Boehner invoked the Islamic Community Center in Manhattan in his response: "Well, to Pastor Jones and those who want to build the mosque: Just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do."

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