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FLORIDA: U.S. pastor burns copies of Holy Quran

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The Holy Book

Pastor Terry Jones burned copies of Holy Quran There is no dearth of hatemongers both in the United States and Muslim world. If extremists are spreading hatred in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, then same is being done by some pastors in the United States as well. This time around, a US pastor on Saturday burned copies of Holy Quran and depiction of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) to protest against imprisonment of a clergyman in Iran. The pastor demanded an immediate release of the clergyman and warned Iran for more such actions if they did not pay heed to his caveat.

It is simply appalling. At the very least, the pastor should not have done such a shameful act. The controversial pastor, who is known as Terry Jones, burned copies of the Holy Quran at a church in Gainesville in Florida. The shameful act was done in a ceremony that was attended by 20 people. Burning of the holy book was also streamed live over the internet. Terry Jones demanded release of Christian clergyman Youcef Nadarkhani, who converted to Christianity. He was arrested in October 2009 in Iran and awarded death penalty under the Sharia law for "the crime." The sentence invited attention of the world community and they pressed Iranian government to release the convert.

Video of the burning of Holy Quran was also posted on Youtube by supporters of Terry Jones. The US government had reportedly forbidden the pastor to do such an act because US officials believed that such an audacious act by the pastor could put lives of thousands of troops based in volatile Afghanistan to risk. But he did not pay heed to the government officials and went ahead with his plans. It is pertinent to mention here that the same pastor burned a copy of the holy book in March last year and this was streamlined live on the internet. The act invited wrath of militants and even moderate Muslims in the Muslim world including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Huge protest rallies were held against the shameful act of Terry Jones, while 12 people were also killed in Afghanistan during the protest demonstrations. The governments of all the Muslim countries lodged a strong protest with the US and warned breaking off diplomatic ties if the action would be repeated anytime soon. The Obama administration had handled the issue but it has happened again. What should be done now? The video should immediately be removed from the internet so that it could not incite public sentiment against the United States.

US officials should arrest Terry Jones for inciting hatred in the Muslim world against his own countrymen. Last month, Taliban broke off their dialogue process with the US following burning copies of Holy Quran by NATO troops at one of their military bases in Afghanistan. Holy Quran is one of the holiest books for Muslims and they even become ready to sacrifice their lives to protect sanctity of the book.