A number of American officials, including President Obama, have condemned the burning of a Quran by Florida Pastor Terry Jones. At least nine people have died, seven of them employees of the United Nations, as protests sparked by the act have entered a third day.
The following thoughts are from my friend and former colleague, Heather MacKenzie.
An Open Letter to Mullah Jones
Mullah Jones, you are, just like your brethren in Afghanistan with blood on their hands, the followers of your bloodline, with your hasty actions to avenge the events that occurred on September eleventh.
You chose to seek the most obscene insult to a faith and culture you don’t understand.
Mullah Terry Jones, you are ignorant, intolerant and uneducated about who was involved, how and what lead up to the day America will forever be changed.
Blame Al Qaeda and the Taliban, not the people of faith who happen to be Islamic.
There are extremists on every side. Now YOU are an extremist.
Now you are an UGLY AMERICAN. I’m ashamed of you.
You have no right to fling hatred at hatred. You have no right to tear down what the American trust has rebuilt over years and where lives are at stake. How dare you burn the Quran! You don’t understand the culture. Read ‘Three Cups of Tea’ and go to a Mosque and visit a VA Hospital and the families of the victims, both of those who come back alive and those who returned in boxes. Your penalty should be to spend the rest of your days in Afghanistan, working to pay restitution to help orphans and widows of the victims of their war.
Actions have consequences. Where would you be without the rights and privileges granted you by your American citizenship? The rights that so many on both sides have sacrificed and the people of the Middle East and North Africa are losing their lives over, and here you use the rights we have won and so many others struggle for to set us back. Even though we have the right to burn the book, does not mean we should use that right. The people were told, “agitate” by their Mullah, but they wanted revenge. Isn’t that what you wanted too? To take it to the next level?
Where would we be in a world without tolerance? Who should take the first step? What faith do you pretend to be from? You were warned what the consequences would be.
I scorn your actions and beg forgiveness of the People of Islam.
(My apologies to Islam for the use of the term Mullah and Jones in the same phrase. It was for shock value only. No disrespect was intended.-HM)
Heather MacKenzie, is a visual artist living in New England, and a former video-journalist for ABC News.