09/07/10 — No burning: Stand strong against mosque near Ground Zero, but leave Quran alone

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No burning: Stand strong against mosque near Ground Zero, but leave Quran alone

There is some concern that a church pastor's announcement that his congregation plans to burn copies of the Muslim holy book -- the Quran -- will cause an Islamic terrorist response that could endanger the safety of U.S. troops.

The pastor says the event would be part of a memorial and day of remembrance on the anniversary of Sept. 11.

We should pay attention when the commander of the operation in Afghanistan expresses his concern about how such an act would be portrayed, and used, by our enemies. But fear of reprisals against our troops overseas is not the only reason a plan like this should be nipped in the bud.

The other reason goes back to what the Bible teaches and what we stand for as Americans -- and what the proper way is to remember a day when so many innocent people lost their lives.

Sept. 11 should be a sore spot for Americans. It was a day when this nation suffered a terrible loss. We still grieve for the heroes, the innocent victims and for the families who have been left behind.

But we have to remember, as hard as it is sometimes, that the actions of extremists and terrorists are not the feelings of all Muslims -- and that to strike out against an entire religion simply because of the actions of thugs and criminals is wrong, too.

The way to honor those who died Sept. 11 is to continue to push for the removal of the mosque from the area near Ground Zero -- not because Americans hate Islam or Muslims, but because that is the right thing to do, out of respect for the thousands of Americans who died that day and to make living without them a little easier for the families they left behind.

That should be a spot where we mourn, where we cry and where we promise never to forget the lessons we learned on Sept. 11, 2001.

We can find somewhere else much more appropriate to begin to build bridges to creating understanding between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

Burning a Quran accomplishes nothing except creating more hate -- and more ammunition for those who use propaganda to recruit and train terrorists. It would lash out against not just the extremists, but also would disrespect the millions of Muslims who seek peace and condemn the actions of this disgraceful minority.  

And that should not be our goal -- not on the anniversary of a day when extremists killed thousands of innocent men, women and children.

It just wouldn't be right.

Published in Editorials on September 7, 2010 10:28 AM