Quran burning protests continue and spread

On Friday, April 1st 2011, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan five demonstrators and seven United Nations employees were killed when an angry group attacked the United Nations compound. The protests have now spread to the southern region. Government officials are reporting that nine civilians are dead and many are injured. U.N. Peacekeeping Director, Alain Le Roy said, “I understand there were hundreds, if not thousands, of demonstrators. Some of them were clearly armed and they stormed into the building.” The demonstrators were chanting “Death to America” as they broke into the U.N. Compound.

The violence was sparked by protests about the burning of the Quran by a pastor in Gainesville, Florida.  Last year, Pastor Terry Jones achieved international notoriety when he planned “International Burn a Quran Day” on the ninth anniversary of September 11th. This Quran burning day never actually took place. However, the church’s website did announce “International Judge the Koran Day” which was scheduled to be held last month. Another post on the site, “showed an image of a burning book and read ‘The event is over, the Koran was found guilty and a copy was burned inside the building.’”

The killings in Mazar-e Sharif were condemned by the U.N Security Council and other international organizations.



  1. I am always troubled by stories such as this. Pastor Terry Jones decided to blame an entire religious group for the behavior of a radical group of people. In response, this small portion of the Muslim community attacked and killed civilians. Millions of Muslims practice their religion peacefully and I think it is disgraceful when someone like Terry Jones decides to blame even those who are peaceful for the actions of the few who are not. Incidents like this are problem with the freedom of speech. It is absolutely a basic right that must be respected, but it may also lead to situations such as this.

  2. What the pastor did was extremely irresponsible and I think that he should be held accountable somehow for the resulting violence. While there is freedom of speech rights, at some point I think it goes too far. He openly inferred that they burned a copy of the Quran. It is true that the majority of Muslims are peaceful, but there is also is widespread knowledge that there are violent radical followers as well. I think that the pastor could have reasonably known that there would be some sort of protest over what he did.

  3. Although I am a firm supporter of free speech rights, Pastor Jones’ speech and conduct is inexcusable and clearly violence-provoking. The deeper problem, however, is that the American people have failed to dispell these beliefs as quickly as they were placed into the marketplace of ideas. The more troubling issue is that the anti-islam sentiment is far too common in this nation, and the inability of the average American to distinguish between a small minority of extremists and a large majority of peaceful believers is what has allowed Pastor Jones’s beliefs to be spread and validated. The American press and education system need to place additional effort into spreading awareness and knowledge that the quran and terrorism are not co-linked. Only by educating the American public can we effectively combat the most offensive of ideas, while still upholding the constitutional value in freedom of speech.

  4. The right to free speech is one of the most important liberties out there, but people need to realize that with such freedom comes responsibility. Many people are familiar with the notion that shouting fire in a crowded theater violates free speech because of the threat that it creates to the public. Keeping this is mind; one would be far stretched to claim that burning a Quran in a world full of religious hostility does not lead to analogous result. By undertaking such a reckless act, Pastor Terry Jones sent a crowded world trampling all over each other as demonstrated by events on April 1st 2011 referred to in the main post. To clarify, I am not laying any criticism on the notion of free speech, I am just saying that when using it people need to understand its power and contemplate the consequences of such power.
    In addition, although the point has already been made several times in this series of posts, it is important to stress that the religious extremists that Pastor Terry Jones was protesting against represent only a minute fraction of the Muslim community. As pointed out by Joseph Sinchak, the majority of the Muslim religion is made up of peaceful believers and it is extremely unfair to condemn this group over the actions of a few extremists.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree that Terry Jones should be held accountable for the individuals that were killed in Afghanistan. Obviously, freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of American society. The freedom of expression / freedom to literally speak one’s mind is what separates our society from many around the globe. However, I also feel that it is a right that is highly exploited and used for the wrong reasons. Freedom of speech was created in order to enable a free exchange of ideas, to allow people to see other perspectives, and foster diversity in thought. The First Amendment was not meant to be used as a tool to feed off of hatred towards others in order to garner attention. This is exactly what Terry Jones did. He used freedom of speech in the most negative way in order to garner attention towards himself and his hate-filled views, which in my opinion is a total abuse of first amendment rights.

  6. People like Terry Jones only make it more dangerous for American military personnel and contractors in the Arab world, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorist organizations can already come up with enough reasons to hate us, so why is it necessary that ignorant Americans give them even more reason to kill innocent people. I wonder how Pastor Jones would feel if someone burned the Bible. The religion of Islam has absolutely nothing to do with those who commit terrorist acts in its name. A religious book of a group should not be desecrated because of the acts of a small minority within it.
    More than anything, Terry Jones probably did this as a publicity stunt. Everyone knows his name now, and I am sure he was able to make some money off of this fiasco, as sickening as that is. When someone puts innocent lives in jeopardy due to their ignorance, they should be called out on it. Hopefully Pastor Jones can be compelled to stop this nonsense before more lives are lost.

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