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30-member Protestant church threatens to burn Al-Qur'an / Menaces de brûler le Coran

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  • #16

    November 1, 2010 -- Seven weeks before he died, Father Thaer Abdal was standing beside the gnarled stone grotto to the Virgin Mary in Sayidat al-Nejat church, an extremely worried man. Sayidat al-Nejat means “Our Lady of Salvation,” and the young Syrian Catholic priest feared that his Baghdad congregation might soon be needing a measure of that divine salvation. Thousands of miles away in Gainesville, Florida, the Rev. Terry Jones, was planning to burn a Qur'an on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Father Thaer was afraid that after a period of relative calm for his parishioners, Christians in Iraq were about to be targeted again.

    The Qur'an-burning was canceled, but anti-Christian hatred had already been stirred by the widespread advance publicity. And whether or not the Qur'an burning threat contributed to what was to come, the Iraqi priest’s fears proved correct. On Sunday during a service, he was shot dead at the altar, alongside his worshipers, when gunmen burst into the church intending “to kill, kill, kill,” as one survivor recalled.

    Sayidat al-Nejat is a well-known landmark in Karrada, the mixed, largely middle-class district of central Baghdad, where many Christian churches are gathered together. Towering above the church is a huge modernist crucifix that dominates the local skyline. It is a beacon to the faithful and fanatics alike, shouting across the skyline, “We are here.” Father Thaer’s name translated as “wrath,” but he was the calmest and politest of men. When a team from The New York Times pulled up outside the church in early September it was clear that everyone was preparing for the worst. Concrete bollards, razor wire and oil drums filled with cement barricaded the entrance; a mound of sand blocked the road, and a police car sat in the road outside. Much of this was a legacy from 2004, when the church was attacked by a car bomb, which killed two people, wounded 90 and damaged graves in the churchyard.

    When the priest saw journalists start to interview locals in the street he quietly said, “Come with me,” and guided us by the arm into the “safety” of the church grounds. Standing beneath the crucifix he said that although his congregation had “witnessed very improved security” in recent years, half his parishioners had already left the country, and he was worried that the threatened Qur'an-burning could prove to be as damaging to Christian-Muslim relations as the 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. “Perhaps the man who is doing this is trying to take advantage of it to become famous, or to start a war between Muslims and Christians,” Father Thaer said of Rev. Jones, whose threat had been condemned internationally and by President Obama and residents in his Florida hometown. “I would like to send a message to the pastor who is in America; he lives in a society that protects humans and religious beliefs. Why would he want to harm Christians in Iraq? This is dangerous. He should realize that we live in cultures of various denominations, especially in Iraq.”

    Muslim neighbors of the church had already asked him if he and his congregation found Qur'an-burning “acceptable as Christians,” Father Thaer said. “I give them an answer with all love, and I want to say that this is an unacceptable thing.” The Islamic State of Iraq, a militant organization connected to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, took responsibility for Sunday’s attack, calling the church “the dirty den of idolatry” and saying that the fuse of a campaign against Iraqi Christians had been lit.


    • #17

      November 1, 2010 -- At sunset yesterday, Raghada al-Wafi walked excitedly to mass with news for the priest who married her a month ago. Tonight, exactly 24 hours later, she returned to the Our Lady of Salvation church – this time carried by her family in a coffin that also contained her unborn child. Today the priest who blessed her marriage and pregnancy minutes before he was killed will also be buried, as will several dozen other members of his congregation – all of them slain by terrorists in an attack that has drawn condemnation from around the world and left the fate of Iraq's beleaguered Christian community evermore uncertain. Fifty-eight people, most of them worshippers from the Chaldean Catholic community, are confirmed to have been killed in the massacre, which was carried out by al-Qaida-aligned gunmen, some of whom claimed to be avenging a foiled move by a small-town U.S. pastor to burn the Qur'an.

      Survivors spoke of religious taunts, random killings and then a gunman slaughtering hostages en masse as the Iraqi army stormed the church to end the four-hour siege. Ghassan Salah, 17, had just arrived for the Sunday night service with his mother, Nadine, and brother, Ghaswan, when the gunmen burst through the cathedral's huge wooden doors. "All of you are infidels," they screamed at the congregation. "We are here to avenge the burning of the Qur'ans and the jailing of Muslim women in Egypt." Then the killing began. Ghassan and seven other survivors described to the Guardian a series of events that have broken new ground in a country that has become partly conditioned to violence throughout eight years of war. Thar Abdallah, the priest who married al-Wafi was first to be killed – shot dead where he stood. Gunmen then sprayed the church with bullets as another priest ushered up to 60 people to a small room in the back.

      Mona Abdullah Hadad, 62, was in church with her family when the gunmen started shooting. "They said, 'We will go to paradise if we kill you and you will go to hell'," she said. "We stood beside the wall and they started shooting at the young people. I asked them to kill me and let my grandson live, but they shot him dead and they shot me in the back." Hadad was recovering in a Baghdad hospital along with 67 other people, many of them seriously wounded. Part of her kidney was removed yesterday and she remains heavily traumatised. Survivors claimed that the terrorists holding them accounted for most, if not all, of the casualties. There were growing fears in Baghdad that the military raid may also have led to the deaths of hostages. "I saw at least 30 bodies," said Madeline Hannah, 33, who was seriously wounded by gunshots. Many appeared to have been blown apart by explosions detonated by the hostage-takers, she added. "They said it was 'halal' to kill us," said Hannah, whose 10-year-old son was shot in the back. "They hated us and said we were all going to die."

      Witnesses interviewed consistently said that some of the gunmen spoke Arabic in a non-Iraqi dialect, supporting a government claim that the operation was foreign-backed. It was carried out in the name of an umbrella group for global jihad causes, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, which has previously targeted Christians and churches, but on a much smaller scale. An audio message posted on a jihadist website specifically called for the release of two Egyptian Christian women who are married to Coptic priests and are believed by some Muslim groups to have converted to Islam and to be held against their will.

      The scene of their massacre, one of Baghdad's most well-known landmarks, was today a rank mess of blood stains, flesh and shell casings. Pews were scattered throughout the cavernous church, which was pocked with hundreds of bullet holes and damage that testified to the horrendous events that had taken place there. The Iraqi army assault was heralded with a sustained, fearsome burst of gunfire that lasted at least two minutes. It was interrupted by two large explosions that are believed to have been caused by gunmen detonating suicide vests they were wearing. "I saw them put the explosive belts on their body," said Ghaswan Salah, 16. "It was the last thing they did before the army came in."

      The Vatican today led global condemnation of the latest violence against Iraq's Christian community of 550,000, which has almost halved since the 2003 invasion. The leader of Iraq's Christian Endowment Fund, Abdullah Nowfali, said: "They want us to leave the country. Now very few of us will dare to attend prayers." A return to church was far from the mind of most survivors contacted by the Guardian, such as Ban Abdullah Georges, whose daughter, Marina Bresh, was shot in the thigh. "All through the terrible past I had said to my husband we should stay, and we will stay," she said. "This is my home. But it's not anymore. There is nothing for us now. Nothing."

      Historic community

      Iraq is home to one of the Middle East's oldest Christian communities; the majority are Catholics belonging to the Chaldean, or Assyrian, churches.The Assyrians are thought to be the oldest Christian community, dating back to the first century. Armenian Christians moved to Iraq too, fleeing massacres in Turkey early last century. There have been other violent campaigns against Iraq's Christians, such as a sustained attack by the Iraqi army in the 1930s, but the last 50 years had been largely benign for the various communities, which were thought to have numbered around 800,000 before the US invasion of 2003. During the 35 years of Ba'athist rule, Iraq's Christians were treated relatively well, especially compared with Shias and Kurds. Saddam Hussein made a Chaldean Christian, Tariq Aziz, into a powerful and trusted deputy and by and large left the Christian hamlets of Baghdad, Irbil and Mosul alone. Things changed during the security vacuum that followed the fall of Baghdad. Christians in Mosul have been targeted by Sunni insurgents who align with the jihadi world view. Mass migrations have followed the attacks, with the number of Christians in Iraq now thought to be as low as 500,000. Those who remain see themselves as an increasingly threatened minority.


      • #18

        March 21, 2011 -- The Islam-hating Florida preacher who threatened to burn the Qur'an on the anniversary of 9/11 torched a copy of the holy book this weekend despite vowing not to. Pastor Terry Jones held a bizarre mock trial, execution and burning of the Qur'an in front of a crowd of only 30 people. The pastor supervised the book barbecue at his tiny Gainesville church on Sunday after declaring the Muslim holy text 'guilty' of crimes. Last year Jones threatened to hold an International Burn a Qur'an Day on the anniversary of the terror attacks, sparking wild protests around the world. Many feared it would endanger U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and President Obama believed it might provoke a spate of suicide bombings. It was only after the intervention of both the President and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Jones withdrew the plans, claiming he did so because he had made his point, and vowing not to go through with it. But after the eight-minute trial at his church, Jones watched as fellow pastor Wayne Sapps lit the gasoline-soaked text and let it burn for ten minutes. Jones claimed that he went back on his word because he has been trying to give the 'Muslim world an opportunity to defend their book' but received no response from them. Although only 30 people watched, he claimed the event was a success and called it a 'once-in-a-lifetime experience'. Some onlookers posed for photographs beside the burning Qur'an. One, Jadwiga Schatz, said: 'These people, for me, are like monsters. I hate these people.'


        • #19


          • #20

            March 22, 2011 -- The notorious Florida pastor Terry Jones has at last fulfilled his long-cherished dream and participated in a public burning of the sacred Muslim scripture, the Qur'an. The auto da fe took place on Sunday in one of Florida’s churches, and the executor was Pastor Jones’ colleague and disciple Pastor Wayne Sapp. The improvised trial took about eight minutes, after which the “jurors” issued a “guilty” verdict. The Qur'an was declared guilty of numerous crimes and sentenced to public burning. The book itself had already been prepared, having been soaked in kerosene for several hours. Pastor Sapp lit it with a barbecue lighter and after ten minutes the show was over.

            It is worth remembering that Pastor Terry Jones who supervised the whole event, first put forward the idea of burning the sacred Muslim book in summer 2010. His intention was to burn as many copies of the Qur'an on September 11, when the U.S. commemorated the 9/11-2001 anniversary. At that time it went so far that President Barack Obama had to intervene and use all his influence in order to prevent the public execution of the book. Pastor Terry Jones stepped back, called off the burning and even vowed he will never again intend to do it. But his initiative was not lost in vain. Some other radical protestant pastors did fulfill his intention and organized a public burning of the Qur'an on September 11, 2010. Pastor Jones’ name became well-known by the public far beyond the U.S. boundaries. He became an icon for some and a culprit in the eyes of others. When British ultra-nationalist and xenophobic English Defence League invited him to Great Britain early this year to participate in one of its sessions, the British Home Office denied him the right to enter the country.

            Despite the promise he gave six months ago, this time Terry Jones decided to revive his long-cherished dream. He even issued a notice to Muslims saying that he is granting them the right to defend their holy book. When no one answered, he went on with the “trial”. Although the whole incident did not attract much public attention – media largely ignored it, and the “trial” itself was attended by no more than 30 people, those who attended it were rather aggressive. “These people [Muslims], for me, are like monsters,” said Jadwiga Schatz who expressed her ardent support for Terry Jones. “I hate these people.”

            What is also worth mentioning is the fact that Pastor Jones could hardly choose a worse time for burning the Qur'an. It happened exactly on the day when the western coalition started its operation against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The operation itself does not enjoy unanimous support even in the U.S. with memories of the failures in Afghanistan and Iraq being too fresh. More so, Colonel Gaddafi used it as a pretext to present the military action against his regime as a clash of civilizations, calling it a “new crusade”. Definitely, there is no reason to equate the military action (supported, among others, by several Muslim states) against a regime following the policies of genocide against its own people with the clashes between Christian and Muslim civilizations in the Middle Ages.

            But cases like the Sunday burning of the Qur'an can have an extremely negative impact on public opinion in the Muslim world making too many people believe that Muammar Gaddafi may be right. Even if the number of Pastor Terry Jones’ followers might be minimal, the publicity attracted to such cases will definitely picture the U.S. as a “new crusader”. And this is very much unlikely to serve for the success of the work the West is trying to do in Libya. Barack Obama tried hard to avoid being pictured in the same tones as his predecessor who started two wars against Muslim countries. When eventually he was forced to do it, he still tried to keep as low a profile as possible, letting France and other European countries to play the first fiddle. And if he is remembered as a person who followed the usual track of U.S. coercive policies, Pastor Jones will be among those Obama should thank for tarnishing his image.


            • #21

              April 1, 2011 -- The UN mission in Afghanistan has been thrown into a deep crisis after a furious mob of protesters killed and wounded a number of its staff in one of the country's most peaceful cities. One police source in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif claimed at least eight foreign UN employees were killed after a demonstration in the thriving commercial hub turned violent. Other officials reported different figures. Provincial police spokesman Sherjan Durrani said the demonstrators poured out of mosques in the city in the early afternoon, shortly after Friday prayers where worshippers had been angered by reports that a Florida pastor had burned a copy of the Qur'an. Last year Terry Jones, a US fundamentalist Christian leader, did threaten to burn copies of the Muslim holy book. He backed down after warnings that Islamic opinion around the world could be inflamed and the lives of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq endangered. But on 21 March Wayne Sapp set light to a Qur'an with Jones standing by.

              Durrani said that while most protesters were peaceful, others were seeking targets to attack, including shops and the UN compound. Whatever the final death toll, the incident is seen as a disaster for the UN, coming just over a week after the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, announced that Mazar-e-Sharif would be one of the first areas of the wartorn country to be transferred from NATO to Afghan government security control. If the number of UN staff killed is high, the organisation will be obliged to consider closing down or dramatically reducing all its operations in the country – something it came perilously close to doing in late 2009 when an attack on a UN guesthouse in Kabul killed five staff. The UN has already issued a "white city" order, which forces all staff in the country into lockdown in their compounds. Earlier in the day hundreds of Afghans marched on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. In a statement the UN confirmed that some of its staff members had been killed. "The situation is still confusing and we are currently working to ascertain all the facts and take care of all our staff. The special representative of the secretary general, Staffan de Mistura, is on his way to Mazar-e-Sharif now to deal with the situation personally on the ground."


              • #22

                KABUL, April 1, 2011 -- Ten foreign UN workers were killed Friday in an attack on the UN headquarters in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif by demonstrators protesting at the burning of the Qur'an by a U.S. pastor, police told AFP. “Ten (UN) people have been killed by the protesters (…) All the killed are foreigners,” police spokesman Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai said. A spokesman for the UN mission in Kabul, Don McNorton, said: “We are aware of an incident in our Mazar office, we are currently working to ascertain all the facts.” Afghanistan had condemned the “disrespectful and abhorrent” burning of the Quran by evangelical preacher Pastor Wayne Sapp in a Florida church, calling it an effort to incite tension between religions. President Hamid Karzai called on the United States to bring those responsible for the burning of the Islamic holy book on March 21 to justice. In January last year seven tribesmen were killed when Afghan security forces opened fire at demonstrations sparked by the alleged desecration of a Qur'an by U.S. troops in the southern province of Helmand, a hotbed of insurgency. The demonstrators were trying to overrun NATO bases and police facilities when they were fired on.


                • #23

                  KABUL, April 1, 2011 — Protesters angered by the burning of a Qur'an by a fringe American pastor in Florida mobbed offices of the United Nations in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing ten foreign staff members and beheading two of the victims, according to an Afghan police spokesman. Five Afghans were also killed. The attack began when hundreds of demonstrators, some of them armed, poured out of mosques after Friday Prayer and headed to the headquarters of the United Nations in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. They disarmed the guards and overran the compound, according to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for General Daoud Daoud, the Afghan National Police commander for northern Afghanistan.

                  A spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Kieran Dwyer, said the attack had occurred during a demonstration. “We can confirm there have been casualties, including U.N. personnel, but the situation on the ground remains very confusing,” he said. He added that Staffan de Mistura, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan, was en route to Mazar-i-Sharif. Tolo TV news in Kabul reported that the head of the United Nations mission in the city was among the victims, but that could not be confirmed. Mirwais Zabi, director of the public health hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif, said 24 wounded Afghan civilians and five dead Afghan civilians were brought to the hospital, with more wounded expected. Other reports said that the Afghan dead included some of the guards.

                  Mr. Ahmadzai, the police spokesman, said the crowd was angry about the burning of the Koran after a mock trial overseen by Pastor Terry Jones on March 20. Mr. Jones had caused an international uproar by threatening to burn the Qur'an last September 11, and demonstrations at the time led to deaths throughout Afghanistan, but on a small scale. Mr. Jones subsequently had publicly promised not to burn a Qur'an, but then went ahead last month, after holding a mock trial of the Qur'an at his fringe church in Gainesville, Florida. After disarming the United Nations compound’s guards, the crowd surged inside. Eight of the foreign staffers, whose nationalities were not known immediately, were killed by gunfire, and two others were captured and then beheaded, Mr. Ahmadzai said. He added that 15 people had so far been arrested for their part in the attack, and that the Afghan authorities had brought the situation under control.


                  • #24
                    Katie Leslie:

                    April 1, 2011 -- Jobeth Gerrard, of Marietta, said she first learned about Pastor Terry Jones last year when the Florida minister was interviewed on the Sean Hannity Show. Curious about the Dove World Outreach center, she drove to Gainesville to worship with Jones’s congregation. Gerrard, 53, said she remained in contact with the church and later was asked to serve on the jury in the recent “mock trial” against the Qur'an. She and others found the Muslim holy book guilty of such charges as inciting terror and killing; inciting prejudice against different races and religions; and mistreatment of women, she said. Gerrard witnessed the burning of the Qur'an on March 20. Reached at her home Friday, Gerrard said she had not yet heard of the attacks on United Nations workers in Afghanistan, but denied there could be any link to the Qur'an’s burning. “That’s the excuse du jour. … They aren’t linked,” she said. “Don’t even try tying them together. It’s just pointless. They’re killing people every week over there.”

                    Gerrard said she was aware that international leaders had previously pleaded with Jones not to burn the Qur'an. She said she knew that Jones had received messages from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, General David Petraeus and Pope Benedict XVI, among others. “And I said, what is wrong with this picture that the whole international community, and everybody is getting involved? Why are they so terrified of this little guy in Florida with a Qur'an in a little no-nothing church?” she said. “We are told that Muslims are peaceful and we don’t have a Muslim problem. Why are they all freaking out about this? Don’t we have free speech?” Gerrard described the trial as “anti-climactic” and said it lasted about five and a half hours. The trial was conducted largely in Arabic and thus was translated for the jurors, she said. The evidence presented came from passages of the Qur'an. Testimony also was taken from witnesses on both sides of the issue, according to Dove Outreach’s website. Jones presided as judge. Gerrard said she became involved because she wanted to learn more about the persecution of non-Muslims and Sufi Muslims, who she believes are persecuted. “I feel like I have the obligation to hear them. I know they’re ignored and marginalized in their Muslim countries,” she said. “We should be hearing them and listening to them because they are telling us what is going on over there.”


                    • #25


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                          • #28

                            KANDAHAR, April 2, 2011 (Xinhua) -- At least nine people were killed and over 80 others sustained injuries as thousands of people staged a protest in Kandahar city on Saturday to condemn the reported burning of the Muslim holy book the Qur'an in the U.S. recently, a statement released by Kandahar's provincial administration said. "In today's demonstration in Kandahar city which turned to violence, nine people including a police officer were killed and 81 others sustained injuries," the statement asserted. The victims, according to doctors in local hospitals, have received bullet and stone wounds as protestors hurled stone towards police and police opened fire to disperse the protestors.

                            Kandahar's provincial administration also blamed vested interests for conspiracy, adding that some elements with vicious designs were availing of the opportunity to set on fire public and private properties including shops and vehicles and turning the procession into violence.Several classrooms of a girls' school were also set ablaze during the demonstration, the statement further stated. Personnel of law enforcing agencies have arrested 16 people from among the demonstrators, seven of them armed with weapons, the statement of Kandahar's provincial administration said.

                            A priest of a Church in Florida in America, according to media reports, burned the Muslim holy book the Qur'an recently and the act has drawn condemnation. A peaceful demonstration was also held in the Taliqan city, the capital of northeast Takhar province, on Saturday and the demonstrators, after condemning the reported burning of the Qur'an dispersed peacefully. Such demonstrations in the capital city Kabul and the western city of Herat have also been held and the demonstrators condemned the burning of Qur'an by the U.S. priest. Thousands of protestors in a similar demonstration held in Afghanistan's northern Mazar-e-Sharif city on Friday turned to violence and stormed the UN compound, during which incident 11 people, including seven foreign staff of the world body, were killed while 23 others sustained injuries.


                            • #29

                              April 2, 2011 -- Dressed in black robes, the white-haired Pastor Terry Jones looked down from his position in the "judge's chair" set up in the mock courtroom of his tiny church. Judgement had been reached. A verdict had been given and now it was time for the sentence to be carried out. The "guilty" party – the Qur'an – was set in a black metal fire-proof tray. "Give them a few minutes. Those who desire to leave. That is not a problem," Jones intoned in his gravelly monotone as his assistant pastor Wayne Sapp stood next to the book, looking solemn with his hands placed behind his back.

                              Despite being mostly ignored at the time by the mainstream media, what came next has sent shockwaves around the world, setting off a wave of violence in Afghanistan that on Friday rocked the United Nations mission there and on Saturday led to more fatal riots. In the age of the internet and social media, the absence of mainstream coverage was not a problem for Jones and his tiny Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainsville, Florida. After it took place on 20 March, the Pastor's fiery punishment for the Qur'an would be streamed live over the internet and preserved via YouTube. An online poll of whether to shoot, burn, shred or drown the book had already been held. Pictures of the event would be posted on the Facebook page of Jones' new organisation, Stand Up America, which aims to promote his anti-Muslin actions. With the power of the world wide web at his hands, he did not need coverage from newspapers or television media to help him create a global crisis. He could do it all by himself.

                              As Sapp stood by the Qur'an, which had been soaked in kerosene, Jones made his final pronouncements. "I do not believe wrong intentions or motives. This is, as you could put it, the desire of the people," he said. "This is their chosen form of punishment and the Qur'an was found guilty. Thus we are obligated to fulfil this punishment." Then he turned for a brief moment to look at Sapp. "If we are ready, then go ahead," he told the younger man. Sapp then turned to the Qur'an and put an oven lighter to its pages. The book instantly caught fire. As it burned, the click and whir of cameras could be heard.

                              That act – which has provoked anger and revulsion across the world – came at the end of the latest surreal stunt by Jones in his mission to garner headlines and attention for his anti-Islamic beliefs. His vehicle of choice: the trial of the Muslim holy book inside his church. Over more than four hours, Jones sat and presided over the strange scene. The jury was made up mostly of his church members or curious volunteers. One woman, Jobeth Gerrard, had travelled down to Florida from Atlanta, Georgia. She described the trial to the Atlanta Journal newspaper and said she had no problem with the proceedings. "We are told that Muslims are peaceful and we don't have a Muslim problem. Why are they all freaking out about this? Don't we have free speech?" Gerrard told the newspaper.

                              Gerrard and the other jurors heard the prosecution outline a long series of charges against the book. They included the promotion of terrorist acts, crimes against humanity, rape and torture of people of other faiths and the persecution of minorities and women. Jones outlined to the court the consequences of guilt in a curious mix of quasi-legal language and folksy down home wisdom. "If you are found guilty, if you are convicted of murder, you don't get to go home. It does not matter if we love you, if your mommy loves you, if your daddy loves you – you do not get to go home, because you have killed someone. And because of that you will face punishment. You will go to jail, you will possibly someday be electrocuted, or you will be shot up with poison and you will die," he said, and added: "That is what justice is."

                              Of course, this was hardly a fair trial. Jones' church promotes its anti-Islamic beliefs fervently. Nor has he been put off by the wave of negative publicity stoked by the horrific scenes in Afghanistan. In a statement released after news of the killings of the United Nations workers broke, Jones expressed no remorse or regret. He said the problem lay with Islam itself, not his actions in burning the Qur'an. "We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities. The time has come to hold Islam accountable," Jones said.

                              Nor does it seem Jones is going to be put off from further activities. When he backed down from his Qur'an burning last year, Jones was put off by appeals from some of the most powerful people in the world, including the Pope, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and General David Petraeus. In January, the home office announced Jones had been barred from entering the UK "for the public good". A planned visit in order to address the English Defence League, revealed by the Observer in December, was shelved after the far-right group withdrew its invitation. Jones subsequently lambasted the British government for its "unfair" decision.

                              Now he seems determined to continue with more actions, despite the murders they have helped spark. On Good Friday, Jones and a local group calling itself The Order of the Dragon will protest outside the Islamic Centre of America in Dearborn, Michigan. Local Muslim and Christian church leaders want Jones to stay away. So far, even in the light of recent events, Jones shows no signs he will do so. In his statement he voiced not a hint of backing down and a staggering lack of self-awareness. "Muslim dominated countries can no longer be allowed to spread their hate against Christians and minorities," Jones stated. Yet, as the local Gainsville newspaper reported, on the lawn in front of Jones' church three signs have been put up which together read simply: "Islam is of the Devil". Thankfully, a passing do-gooder appears to have vandalised them, scrawling over the hate speech a new message that stated more helpfully: "Love all men."


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