Dove World Outreach Christian Center Christmas Message “Hate to the World”
by Sheila Musaji
updates at bottom of article
I thought that I was beyond being shocked by the level of blind hatred towards Islam and Muslims expressed by some segments of the American population. However when I was sent a link to this Dove World Outreach Video Christmas message http://loganswarning.com/?p=514 which ends with “Merry Christmas From the Dove World Outreach Center where Jesus is King and Islam is of the Devil” and which includes “Islam is of the devil” spelled out in Christmas lights along with a nativity scene and with the song “We wish you a Merry Christmas” playing in the background - I was shocked. These are the same folks who brought us this same sentiment on a sign in front of their church, and on tee-shirts worn the first week of school by some of the children from their church. The message is very similar to Franklin Graham’s “Islam is evil” statement, and Lynn Torgerson’s congressional campaign based on religious hatred and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Somehow this “Christmas message” of hate is particularly disturbing. Why use an occasion that is one of the most important celebrations in Christianity to inflame religious passions and defame another religion? It seems to me that this demeans any positive message of this season. It is just another example of religion being used as source of conflict rather than as a resource for peace. We desperately need interfaith dialogue and such messages only drive a wedge further between people holding different religious beliefs. If any of us are going to survive, we will need to do better than this. As a Muslim, I wish all Christians a Blessed Christmas, and all Jews a Happy Hannukah. I wish all of us of every faith (or no faith) PEACE ON EARTH. I pray that all people of every faith are guided so that it is possible we may find it possible to respect and honor each other and live together in peace. (And, yes, my wish for a blessed Christmas goes also to the Dove World Outreach folks).
I would also hope that those who hold such hateful views of others might read an article by Sarah Joseph Jesus’s message should unite us all from which I will quote a few brief passages: “How, then, is it ever possible to imagine that Christ could be a bridge between people? I would contend that, although the two traditions will not agree on his death, it is in his life where common ground is to be found. Indeed, the narrative of his life to be found within Christianity and Islam could provide a healing balm for the whole world, and not just Muslims and Christians. ... However, there is no denying that Muslims and Christians deeply disagree about the nature of Jesus. I believe, though, that if we look beyond the differences and chose to examine Christ’s life together and to learn from each other, then his life’s narrative of surrender, service and sacrifice; love and compassion can provide the most amazing starting point for a life-, even world-changing discourse.”
Dove World Outreach has announced that it will be sponsoring a “Burn the Koran” day on September 11th 2010. Terry Jones, the church pastor said the purpose is To bring to awareness to the dangers of Islam and that the Koran is leading people to hell. Eternal fire is the only destination the Koran can lead people to so we want to put the Koran in it’s place — the fire!”
Christian Brotherly Love is certainly difficult for some to attain.
Juan Cole has just published an article Burning the Qur’an? ‘Wherever they burn books, they will in the end Burn Human Beings’ which gets to the heart of this bigotry. He said “The German poet Heinrich Heine (d. 1856), in his play lamenting the forced conversion of Spain’s Muslims to Christianity, “Almansor,” wrote, “Wherever they burn books, in the end they will burn human beings.” (When the Nazis burned books in 1933, Heine’s were among those set afire, and his prediction was borne out).” The whole article is a must read.
Rev. Terry Jones of this “church” can be seen in this video saying that “Muslims are welcome in our country”. Sorry, Rev., but Muslims are Americans and part of this country which doesn’t belong to any one segment of our citizenry. What an @#s
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has urged the cancellation of this Qur’an burning http://www.nae.net/news-and-events/469-press-release-nae-urges-cancellation-of-planned-quran-burning
Although the fire department has refused a burn permit for this event, the pastor says that he will go ahead with the burning. It had been announced that an armed group called Right Wing Extreme was coming to “protect” the church during the Qur’an burning. However, today Right Wing Extreme announced that they have had a change of heart. CNN reports that “While the group agrees with the Dove Center’s stance on Islam, press coverage of recent events, such as “Burn a Quran Day,” a recent “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” group on Facebook and the controversy surrounding a proposed mosque and Islam community center near ground zero in New York is “really inciting a lot of hatred and a lot of violence that’s going on,” Right Wing Extreme founder Shannon Carson told CNN. “We don’t want to be a part of inciting violence and racism anymore.”
Where does it end when we as a society accept that bigotry and prejudice towards some of our citizens is acceptable? I believe that this is a dangerous thought process and that it will lead us down a very slippery slope that will ultimately include other citizens as equally “acceptable” targets. Akbar Ahmed notes that the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Church who is planning a “Burn the Qur’an Day” on September 11th has agreed when asked to do so in an internet podcast interview, to burn “a couple of copies of the Talmud” too. Perhaps, if the Talmud is also burned, the ADL will reconsider its unconscionable position on the Cordoba House. We already know that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are closely linked. Will Qur’an and Talmud burnings be enough, or will these same folks move on to the Book of Mormon, the Bhagavad Gita, or other books they don’t approve of?
AMANA, The American Muslim Association of North America today issued a statement calling on all Muslims in and outside the U.S. not to use any form of violence against the Dove World Church or anyone involved with this Qur’an burning demonstration http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/amana_issues_a_statement_against_any_violence_against_burn_a_quran_demonstr/0018211
Muslim groups condemn death threats against Dove World http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100901/ARTICLES/100909964/1109/sports?Title=Blog-Muslim-groups-condemn-threats-against-Dove-World
Creation House Scrubs Terry Jones “Islam is of the Devil” Book http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/creation-house-scrubs-terry-jones-islam-is-of-the-devil-book/
Gen. Petraeus says that the Koran burning plan will endanger US troops http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11209738
The Chief of NATO has condemned the plan http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68638K20100907
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today that “it puts our troops in harm’s way.” http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/09/obama-white-house-plans-to-burn-the-koran-threaten-us-troops/1
The Vatican has denounced the Qur’an burning http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/09/vatican-denounces-quaran-burning-as-outrageous/1
The VFW has condemned this action http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/09/08/eubank.vfw.quran.burning/#fbid=PWsqw95SuwM&wom=false
President Obama has asked them to call off this action http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090901878.html?hpid=topnews
The British Prime Minister’s office has condemned this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11245480
Reaction has come in from around the world http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/09/quran-burning-reaction-pours-in-from-around-the-world/
For every Qur’an burned by this church, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation will donate one Qur’an to the Afghan army http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/09/08/for-every-koran-florida-church-burns-mrff-will-donate-a-new-one-to-afghan-army/
Rev. Jones website has been shut down by his service proider for breaching its acceptable use policy http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/09/rackspace_dove/
The Miami Herald has now also reported that Jones plans to burn copies of the Talmud in addition to the Qur’ans http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/09/05/1810373/uf-muslims-fear-koran-burning.html as has the Sun-Sentinel http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-09-08/news/sfl-quran-burning-gainesville-mayo-090810-link_1_qurans-talmud-muslims-mark
Interpol is concerned that this Qur’an burning would increase risk of terror attacks http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/us-quran-burning-florida-interpol
Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), World’s Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Urges All People to Join in Condemning Incendiary Act and to Donate Two Copies of the Quran for the Public Good http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Reform-Rabbis-Denounce-International-Burn-Quran-Day-Proposed-Reverend-Terry-Jones-1315756.htm
Slate published an important article on this event - We Didn’t Start the Fire: You aren’t responsible for Quran burners. Don’t hold Muslims responsible for 9/11 by William Saletan http://www.slate.com/id/2266535/ Please read the full article with links, but here are some important highlights
Two days ago, hundreds of Afghans gathered in Kabul to denounce the United States for burning the Quran. They torched American flags, chanted “Death to America,” and carried signs calling for the death of President Obama. Some of them hurled rocks at U.S. troops. A student in the crowd said of the planned Quran burning: “We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States.”
He’s wrong, of course. The Quran burning is the brainchild of a Florida minister and his tiny fundamentalist church. It has been condemned by the White House, the State Department, the commanding U.S. general in Afghanistan, Christian organizations, and countless Americans. But when clerics in Egypt denounce the incendiary plan, we feel the heat. When thousands of Muslims rally against it in Indonesia, they do so outside our embassy. When an imam in Kabul threatens retaliation, he casts a shadow on all of us: “If they decide to burn the holy Quran, I will announce jihad against these Christians and infidels.”
This is how it feels to be judged by the sins of others who destroy in the name of your faith. You’re no more responsible for 30 Christian extremists in Florida than Muslims are for the 19 hijackers of 9/11. Yet most of us, when polled, say that no Muslim house of worship should be built near the site of the 9/11 attacks. In saying this, we implicitly hold all Muslims accountable for the crime of those 19 people.
Now you know how it feels to be judged that way. It’s inaccurate, and it’s wrong.
Jon Stewart dealt with this on last nights Daily Show program - http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/jon_stewart_is_a_mensch/0018186
BREAKING NEWS: Three new developments all dovetail, and it will be interesting to watch developments. 1) Hisham Elzanaty, one of the project developers and a major funder of the site purchase says he is willing to sell the property for the right price. His quote from the AP “I’m a businessman. This was a mere business transaction for me. Develop it, raze it, sell it,” he said. “If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it’s all theirs.” — 2) Donald Trump has made a bid to purchase the property. The offer also contains one key condition—that any mosque built by the backers elsewhere “would be located at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site”. — 3) Rev. Terry Jones who is planning the Qur’an burning in Florida told Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida “He told me that if it’s put on hold or relocated, he’s willing to back down.” Musri is waiting to meet with Jones at the outreach center in Gainesville. Musri said he will offer Jones an opportunity to meet with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
Within an hour of putting the news online, I was notified that USA Today is reporting that Rev. Jones has agreed to cancel the Qur’an burning and is flying to New York to meet with Imam Abdul Rauf on Saturday. According to the report “He said he decided to cancel his protest because the leader of a planned Islamic Center near ground zero has agreed to move its controversial location. The agreement couldn’t be immediately confirmed.”
And for the rest of the night, conflicting reports just kept coming in.
An Australian site reported that “But the AFP and Reuters news agencies both reported that the deal had been denied by sources close to the imam of the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, who said there was no agreement to move the development away from Ground Zero.” The NY Times quotes CNN as reporting that Imam Rauf said in a statement that he had not spoken to Mr. Jones or Mr. Musri. “I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Korans,” Mr. Rauf said. “However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam Musri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other, nor are we going to barter. We are here to extend our hands and build peace and harmony.”
AJC reports that “Musri told The Associated Press there was an agreement for him and Jones to travel to New York and meet Saturday — on the actual anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — with the imam overseeing plans to build a mosque near ground zero. “I told the pastor that I personally believe the mosque should not be there, and I will do everything in my power to make sure it is moved,” Musri said. “But there is not any offer from there (New York) that it will be moved. All we have agreed to is a meeting, and I think we would all like to see a peaceful resolution.” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said he was surprised by the announcement and that he would not barter. Speaking to reporters later, Jones was adamant that he was promised that the Islamic center would be moved, and said he would be “very, very disappointed” if it were not.”
Donald Trump’s offer has been turned down as too small an offer. And CNBC clarified that what Trump was offering was not the purchase of the entire property, but an offer to buy an investor’s stake in the property.
A spokesman for the developer leading the investment team declined to confirm Elzanaty’s claim that he has a majority stake in the partnership, or comment on whether he needs approval from the rest of the group to decide the fate of the two buildings.
Jones is saying that the Qur’an burning is only suspended and may still happen. He says the local Imam lied to him, and that he only agreed to cancel the event because he thought there had been an agreement that the NYC center would be moved.
After making the previous statement, he said on “Good Morning America” that he definitely would not follow through.
As if all of this confusion is not enough, the notorious Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church says that if Jones doesn’t burn the Qur’an then his church will burn the Qur’an and an American Flag on 9/11
These folks just don’t seem to get enough publicity. During the counter protest of Anjem Choudary’s pro-Sharia demonstration at the White House (which didn’t take place and was most likely also a publicity stunt by Choudary who is a Muslim version of Jones) there was a reprehensible incident. You can read all about this event here. Watch the video, people chanting “Jesus”, “Jesus”, “Jesus” and acting like barbaric bigots while insulting a Muslim man who has nothing to do with Anjem Choudary’s crowd, and who was attempting simply to pray. There is another, longer video of this event here in which you can see Randall Terry telling the Rev. Terry Jones that he shouldn’t have blinked on the Burn the Qur’an day, and Jones saying he plans to hold an “International Judge the Koran” event on March 20th.
Jones did go ahead with his “Judge the Koran” event and burned a Qur’an **
Now, he says that he is coming to hold a demonstration in front of the Islamic Center of America on April 11th (Good Friday). He is calling this an “Anti-Sharia & Jihad Protest”.
The Dearborn Press reports that Jones issued a statement saying “It is necessary that we set very clear lines for Muslims that are here in America,” Jones said in a written statement. “They are welcome to be here. They are welcome to worship. They are welcome to build mosques. But we do expect them to honor and obey our Constitution.” If they desire to change our Constitution, in other words to institute sharia, then these Muslims are no longer welcome in our country. Now is the time that we make a very, very clear statement to radical Islam.”
And how is the Dearborn mosque responding to this? Niraj Warikoo reports But some local Muslims say they’ll welcome Jones when he makes his April 22 visit. They hope that Jones will meet with them to talk about Islam. One leader even plans to invite Jones inside the mosque to share a meal. “We should show him hospitality,” said Eide Alawan, a longtime interfaith leader at the Islamic Center. “I would hope we could welcome the minister, maybe have other clergy come in for brunch at our mosque. “When you break bread with someone, you see them in a different light.”
I not only hope, but pray that this voice of reason will prevail.
Sadly, an Afghan protest against the Qur’an burning has resulted in the deaths of 12 U.N. workers. This was condemned by American Muslim organizations.
ALARMING STATEMENTS article collection http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/alarming_statements_-_consolidated/
Bonfire of the Korans
An unfolding global Anti-Muslim crusade, Michael Carmichael http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20846
Book burning: a terrible freedom, Gustav Niebuhr http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2010/09/book_burning_a_terrible_freedom.html
BOOK REVIEW: Me and You: Beyond Belief, Together: A Path to Peace All Our Faiths Can Share (David Liepert), by Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/book_review6/
Burn a Qur’an Day an outrage to Muslims, Akbar Ahmed http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/burn_quran_day_an_outrage_to_muslims/0018178
Burning issue: Rabbi’s discuss Qur’an burning http://www.jstandard.com/content/item/burning_issue/14707
Burning the Quran, Jeff Siddiqui http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/burning_the_quran/
Christians must reject “Burn a Quran Day”, Jennifer S. Bryson http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/08/christians_must_reject_burn_a_quran_day.html
Christmastime, Iftekhar Hai http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/christmastime/
Christmas as a “Secular American” Holiday?, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/something_to_think_about/
Despite Popular Belief, Islam’s Not The Grinch That Stole Christmas, Shahed Amanullah http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/through_the_looking_glass_despite_popular_belief_islams_not_the_grinch_that/
Eat, pray, hate: America’s own Taliban, Christopher Dickey http://www.newsweek.com/2010/09/08/eat-pray-hate.html?from=rss
Florida Muslims say violence won’t solve Dove problem http://www.alligator.org/news/local/article_0e7e64c2-b64b-11df-9258-001cc4c002e0.html
Free speech to counter hate speech - Dove World Outreach Center tee-shirt incident, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/free_speech2/
How the Florida pastor and the New York imam can live their faiths, Akbar Ahmed http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/09/08/ahmed.jones.feisal/index.html
“If They Can Burn It, We Can Read It.” A UCC Minister’s Response to Burning the Qur’an http://creativeseminole.com/2010/08/19/if-they-can-burn-it-we-can-read-it-a-ucc-ministers-response-to-burning-the-quran/
In Qur’an Burning We’re All Losers , Julie Ingersoll http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/julieingersoll/3292/in_qur%E2%80%99an_burning_we%E2%80%99re_all_losers
Islamophobia: the new antisemitism, Mya Guarnieri http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/aug/26/islam-religion
Jews Urged to Oppose 9/11 Koran Burning http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/national_news/jews_urged_to_oppose_911_koran_burning/20527
Merry Christmas, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/merry_christmas/
One Church’s Reasons to Hate Islam, Challenged by an Expert, Damien Cave http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/one-churchs-reasons-to-hate-islam-challenged-by-an-expert/
Plan to burn Quran in Florida draws international condemnation http://www.uscatholic.org/news/2010/09/plan-burn-quran-florida-draws-international-condemnation
Plans for a Koran Burning Show a Gainesville Church’s Bigotry, Jason Van Boom http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-van-boom/plans-for-a-koran-burning_b_666027.html
Playing with Fire: On Christian Book Burning, Gary Leupp http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/09/playing-with-fire/
Religious leaders call for solidarity against Quran burning, Chad Smith http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100902/ARTICLES/100909904/1109/sports?Title=Religious-leaders-call-for-solidarity-against-Quran-burning
Religious leaders speak out against International Burn a Quran Day http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/23/religious-leaders-speak-out-against-international-burn-a-quran-day-2/
Treating Christmas with Respect, Abdul Malik Mujahid http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/treating_christmas_with_respect1/
What books shall we burn now?, Rabbi Arthur Waskow http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_books_shall_we_burn_now/
Why they want to burn the Qur’an, Joe Conason http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/joe_conason/2010/09/08/koran/index.html
originally posted 12/19/2009