Terry Jones: How free speech and Quran burning can lead to violence
The violent reaction to Terry Jones burning the Quran at his tiny Florida church continued to spread Saturday, and with it questions about freedom of expression with murderous results.
The violent reaction to Terry Jones burning a copy of the Quran at the Florida pastor’s tiny church continued to spread Saturday, and with it questions about freedom of expression with murderous results.Skip to next paragraph
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Officials in Kandahar, Afghanistan, reported that nine people were killed and scores injured when a protest turned violent. This followed by one day the attack on a United Nations compound in Mazar-e Sharif in which five demonstrators and seven UN employees were killed.
Jones first became notoriously newsworthy last year when he threatened to burn a Quran on the anniversary of the 911 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Only when US Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, warned that the defamation of the Quran would likely cost the lives of US service men and women did Jones call off his "International Burn the Koran Day." Defense Secretary Robert Gates had called Jones as well.
The violent protests Friday and Saturday appear to have been encouraged if not instigated by those opposed to the American-led western presence in Afghanistan, including supporters of the Taliban. A high school for girls supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was among the targets.
For his part, Jones (who’s also written a book titled "Islam is of the Devil”) is unrepentant.
“Of course we were very saddened and devastated by that,” he told ABC News. “It is of course a terrible thing anytime anyone is killed.”
But, he went on, “I think it definitely does prove that there is a radical element of Islam.”