Dove World Christian Center’s Koran burning endangers troops, says Gen Petraeus

By Elizabeth Tenety It’s easy to dismiss Florida Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones’ planned “International Burn a Koran … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

It’s easy to dismiss Florida Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones’ planned “International Burn a Koran Day” as the agitprop of an inconsequential pastor, one whose relevance to mainstream Christianity is akin to that of Westboro Baptist Church.

Americans largely may ignore Jones, who chose September 11th as the date to hold the burning, but on Monday Gen. Petraeus gave a glimpse of just how serious of a problem the planned event is for America’s image around the world.

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

Petraus’ deputy, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, elaborated on CNN, saying “We very much feel that this [the burning] can jeopardize the safety of our men and women that are serving over here in the country,” said Caldwell, the head of NATO efforts to train Afghan security forces.

Do Americans share Petraeus’ concern about how America is perceived abroad?

Last August, another military leader expressed profound worry over America’s image in the Muslim world. Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs wrote critically in Joint Forces Quarterly about America’s “strategic communication” policy. The essay was published at a time when, as the N.Y. Times reported, “The United States [was] widely believed to be losing ground in the war of ideas against extremist Islamist ideology.”

“To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate,” Mullen wrote.

“I would argue that most strategic communication problems are not communication problems at all,” he wrote. “They are policy and execution problems. Each time we fail to live up to our values or don’t follow up on a promise, we look more and more like the arrogant Americans the enemy claims we are.”

Terry Jones may have a right to burn Korans on September 11th. (Then again, he might not.) But what should Americans do to counter the deleterious impact of the lone pastor’s event? What do you think actions like this one convey to Muslims in the US and abroad? How do you want America to be perceived around the world?

More On Faith:

Guest Voices: Christians must reject “Burn a Quran Day”
Modern Muslim: Bigoted protests show ignorance and intolerance

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • thebobbob

    Radical religious extremists calling other religions ‘against God’? The leader of US forces warning of a danger to US troops and our National security? Burning books?? Calling for the expulsion of infidels?Bush said that we should track down those that provide financial support for dangerous radical religious extremists that are a danger to our troops. Find these anti-American groups and send them to Guantanamo for “enhanced interrogation” until they confess.Is Christianity un-American?

  • colonelpanic

    It is always proper to start any discussion of American religious hate groups by pointing out that the U.S.A. had a religious war in the 1850s.The USA prosecuted a war against southern religious extremists who used their faith to justify slavery, rape and murder. After reconstruction the hate found fertile ground in the Ku Klux Klan, and in the 1960s Republicans discovered that hate and greed made a great partnership.Today, fueled by the propaganda broadcasts and outright sponsorship of Fox News and the Koch Brothers, the hate religions in concert with the Republican party has found new power. These people are no different than the Taliban and the book burning is an excellent example of this.

  • areyousaying

    Glenn Beck Christians who adored and defended Petraus against Moveon.org, now castigate him for asking them to help him protect the troops.Apparently their Rovian wedge issues of hating Muslims, Mexicans and gays are more important than the troops Elder Beck and Soap Opera Sarah so eloquently “honored” on the Mall.

  • areyousaying

    Proof that George the Dumber was outright lying that the Christian Oil Crusades are not about religion or a war on Islam.I thought he was supposed to be a Christian.

  • VickytoriaB

    I wonder how American’s in general would respond to other countries burning the “Bible.” Regardless of how corrupt a relgion may be in others eyes, it makes me sad to think that people would actually go forward with a ‘burning’ of someones sacred literature.

  • Elisa2

    How do you suggest that the US micromanage every group of fifty people that might happen to come together to get a spotlight put on them to make a little money from other nut jobs because the US media might decide to blow them up out of proportion to all reality and broad cast their activities to the world?How? Just how?And it does not even have to be fifty. They can take a single crazy and turn it into a world wide media event if they think it will help them with their agenda.

  • bpai_99

    Has anyone investigated whether this church is in league with Osama bin Laden? He wants the world to believe it’s a war between the US and the Muslim world, and this pastor is clearly helping bin Laden make that case.

  • whineridentifier

    People, before you start telling other Americans what they can and can’t do, remember, that Generals have no business telling civilians what they can or can not do. Generals are not politicians remember the last one who got political Obama fired him.

  • shovandas

    While I am against burning of any religious books, I remember, quite clearly the Taliban destroying some of the oldest statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Was there an outcry ?

  • DwightCollins

    American’s are getting tired of muslims attacking us and then asking to be respected…

  • joe_allen_doty

    But, Fred Phelps’ family cult Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas really just preaches one doctrine and that is “God hates (Homosexuals).” They were basically being ignored when they protested at churches, schools, Gay Pride events and the funerals of those who died from an HIV/AIDS symptomatic disease. So, they decided to try a new tactic and hold protests at the funerals of US Military personnel who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have discovered that many of the so-called “Freedom Riders” who show up at Military funerals where the Phelps gang demonstrates are just as homophobic as the Phelps terrorist are.

  • spaded_glory4

    The Muslim religion is anti-American, to say the least. Their backward beliefs about women as well as their disrespectful attitudes toward Christians and Jews do not belong here in America. Burning their book is appropriate first and foremost because it stands against our American values. Most immigrants come here because they are tired of being oppressed and want freedom – the Muslims are here to KEEP being oppressive in a free society and force US to tolerate their beliefs.Are we seriously preaching equality and tolerance toward this group to one another in the name of being American? Why do you think they want Shariah courts?! Because our values are just simply not the same! Just as some ‘religions’ are cults and are damaging to the mental and physical well-being of their members, so is Islam. There is a ton of ex-Islamists who aren’t ashamed to educate dumb Americans against allowing this horrid religion to gain a foothold here in our society…go ahead and educate yourselves, these people have put their lives in danger and many have Fatwas against them, so before you start screaming “right to religion”, at least educate yourself so you know what you’re advocating.Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Taslima Nasrin,Magdi Allam, Nonie Darwish, Nyamko Sabuni, Zachariah Anani, Khalid Duran, Ehsan Jami, Maryam Namazie, Anwar Shaikh, Ali Sina, Walid Shoebat, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan,

  • gospelvenice

    Well the Islamic s battle cry is “death to the American homosexuals”. No one seems to be upset about that. Lame Stream media is biased and won’t report that unless it slips by their sensors somehow which it has. It’s just a fact they hate us period. Hate is a bad thing. The Bible mentions God and describes him with all types of attributes. One of them is he is a God of Love. In the Koran nowhere will you find a mention that God is love. The Jews and the Moslems both believe in an eye for an eye. Christians are commanded to love thy enemies. This is why in a free society the Gospel of Jesus Christ thrives because it’s the right message and it is better to love and forgive than to hate and seek vengeance. Hate will destroy a person and evidently the Arab societies are an example of that with their failed states. We are forgiven by God and because we are forgive we should forgive others. Pretty simple and common sense. They just don’t get it and missed the Love train somehow. They missed out and are suffering because of it. Burn a Bible who cares it’s just paper. Destroy this temple and Jesus will build it up and we will have eternal life with him and have his kind of eternal body to live in with him. His is at the right hand of the Father and he is human just like we are.

  • gaga19832002

    I am sick of a religion that treats women as second class citizens. This religion also wants it’s tenets to be the law of the land. This religion feels free to denigrate other religions while daring anyone else to reciprocate. This religion has sponsored terrorists and terrorism in the United States. Guess which religion? Christianity, get your own house in order before casting aspersions on any other faith.

  • abrahamhab1

    Someone asks:

  • Rongoklunk

    All kinds of people are Muslims, good, bad and the in-betweens. That shouldn’t mean that Islam cannot be criticized. I personally hate it. It is the most intolerant of religions, the most threatening, and the most violent. If that’s the image I have of it – well blame it on 9/11. Blame it on the hoopla over some cartoons, and the freaking -out over a teddy-bear named Muhammed, and the screaming hoards on TV reacting to the plan to burn a Koran. Why don’t they settle down? It’s not the end of the world.

  • dummypants

    and why doesnt the media report that there are sharia courts in jolly old england that apply muslim law to muslims, instead of british law?

  • RockSolid1

    Wake up Ben,The Muslim culture is one of the most oppressive cultures in history. Women are considered property of men and these men abuse them over and over. They call it a religion, but it is just used as an excuse to give power to abusive men. Take a look at the shah of Iran, he has a group of goons that go around and break arms and legs if families don’t show up for prayers each time the call to prayer is given. We have friends that live in constant fear that they will be seen doing something that someone disapproves of and these goons will show up to harm them. If you want to take a stand for something, say something about these innocent people that have to live in constant fear living in these cultures.Our biggest mistake is the miscommunication of our values. We stand for those that cannot protect themselves. America was blessed by God and given very much, and to whom much is given, much is required. We are losing a war of propaganda, General Petraeus and the American Government need to communicate to the Muslim People our true values and what the majority of Americans stand for…. Things like Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

  • sam38

    Muslims of America and the world need to know that the tiny group of idiots who want to burn Korans does NOT represent the beliefs of America or the beliefs of Christians. Jesus said “love your neighbor” NOT “Do everything you can to offend your neighbor.” It is nothing but a cheap publicity stunt by a washed-out pastor who wants to sell his little hate-filled book. General Petraeus says it will endanger US troops–he would know. So this Florida group is not only bigoted, they are traitors to their country. Burning books does NOT “communicate our values” at all. Personally, I’ll be praying for a rainstorm so heavy that their plans will be ruined, or at least. postponed. But I wouldn’t complain if God decided to hit this Florida gathering by lightening for abusing his name so terribly.

  • sam38

    @RockSolid1

  • getagrip2010

    ROCKsolid,You are a poor representation of America, though your idea may be classed as uneducated you have the freedom and liberty to express them. We are a country that extends that liberty to speech and religion.I am very proud to be an American, surely you are as well. You must realize along with other educated citizens that NOT all Muslims are extremists. You claim that their faith is riddled with strong arming clergy men. Surely by this same thought then all Catholics are pedaphiles from those clergymen who have molested children and all Christian preachers are theifs who extort from their parishes… NO this is not the case, they are the exception rather than the rule. As an American who has traveled for the last 8 years and resided out of my country, I miss it and hope the world sees us as leaders to peace rather than ignorant book burners. Theyre are so many good Muslims and all we are doing is offending them and turning them against us. Hopefully they will see that this is 50 ppl from a radical church who are ignorant. I hope Afghanistan can look past the face of these articles and this singular church to see the true ppl of America that hope for better tomorrow for Afghanistan.Safe return for our troops and safe transition in Iraq to its people.

  • getjiggly

    To Ben Marcus,

  • gneurology

    What America should do? Well, try to be just, not Hippocrates. Keep its promise. If democracy in Iraq and Iran is important, why not in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan? People in these countries are much more oppressed than other countries.

  • avrumy9999

    I’m sorry – in all due respect, General Patreus should shut the BLEEP up and this is coming from a family with a long line of military service on both sides of the family. In now way should we cow-tow to these muslims anymore. Burn a Torah or a Bible in Kandahar? Nobody is going to start a Jihad. HERE u burn a koran for once and they want a jihad? Screw them! Enough is enough with these nutjobs. We’re Americans and if they don’t like it too bad. We’re not under sharia law here and the sooner our “leaders” like General Patreus and President Osama realize it the better!

  • lufrank1

    Downright evil – deliberately burning the Koran KNOWING that it will result in increased problems in our ill-begotten wars, and put our troops in greater danger!Sigh! Wouldn’t it be WONDERFUL if ALL organized religions just disappeared. Now that would be a worthwhile replacement for the dark ages crap of any “Second Coming”.Religion is ABSOLUTELY the most corrosive and destructive force in human civilization! Period. Even more so than it’s closely associated twin, Politics.

  • derrida1

    WOW!Look at them Three Blind (and Lame) Multi-Millionaire Musketeers whom think they can relate to the folks who lost their homes etc.. because of what they {Word Merchants or Politicians as low life’s} did; yet boldly, actually Audaciously, think We (the People) already Forgot what they Sowed or Sold US back yonder.The Christian Catholics and the Christian Mormon’s and the Christian Evangelicals have United to “CHRISTiANIZE” America;under Pretexts of “Islamophobia” (a Great Distraction: and CON job which they peddle/push via MEDIA that they now have Controlled for Next Election and via Unlimited Political Spending, as snake oils)and as if threat of Islamicization of America and other none Islamic Nations.Note: 1/3 of Islamics live in none islamic nations. Now that is the real Wake-up Call.”Terrorism” is Not the Threat; it’s “Chrianterism” that’s a threat. So Fellow American’s enjoy your Secular Freedoms while Yo Can! Shame on “WAPO” and “News Corp” (a British owned Media powerhouse) for Causing this Mess [Endorsing Omama and CO.] and now having nerve to think We (the People, not Millionaires like them all) are soo forgetfull or unaware.It is time for “Operation Boy O’ Boy” and “Girl O’ Girl”!You or most of you and families will be cursed. You will see. Remember; Some Sins are Unforgivable. No “Repentance” No “Salvation” No Mr. Jesus and Co. will or can help you Satanic VersUS [Christian Nations], includes Islam and Co..

  • MumboJumboo

    Zionists are destroying the US for the benefit of apartheid israel. The zionists control american media and have huge wealth, they finance web sites that pit america against muslims like jihad watch and many others. Most of the leaders of the organisations that pit the US against muslims are citizens of apartheid israel.

  • ThomasBaum

    bmarcus220 You wrote, “Let’s demonstrate to the world that there are still some people in this country who give a crap about free exercise of religion,”Seems to be that you are not one of them.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • yasseryousufi

    “Burn a Torah or a Bible in Kandahar? Nobody is going to start a Jihad. HERE u burn a koran for once and they want a jihad?”***********************************You dumba$$! There’s already a Christian Jihad going on in Kandahar. George Bush called it a Crusade. First you occupy their country, then rain down hellfire missiles on their wedding parties, then you kill them at checkpoints in their own country through your blackwater and now you want to burn their book. And yet you ask why they hate us? Your the epitome of the uneducated gringo that’s becoming face of America

  • rhf123

    Americans asking the Muslim world to not generalize the acts of a few upon all Americans. As the Summer of Muslim Hate has proven, Americans cannot tell the difference between 19 hijackers and 1.5 billion Muslims and now you expect discretion? Good one.

  • yasseryousufi2

    Farnaz,Thanks for the post. Pakistanis are indebted to all the people who have come to their help in their moment of distress. I read Ahmed Rashid’s Article and sadly its the stark reality of Pakistan of today. Corruption has seeped into our very foundations with the current government being the most corrupt I have seen in my lifetime. Democracy doesn’t work for us. It strengthens the feudal lords. Actually, I don’t even wanna talk about it. Pakistanis are now hoping for some divine intervention. Maybe this flood will be a catalyst for some bloody rising against the corrupt politicians/feudals or maybe we Pakistanis will just lay down and consume more of this like we have been doing with terrorism, inflation and corruption. My sad prediction would be the latter.Regarding the post you cited, I don’t know the person enough to comment on him but I will say this that two people who have shown remarkable courage in defending Muslims against the anti-islamic hysteria with regards to the New York Mosque have been Jewish (If Olbermann is Jewish too, it makes three). Even Barack Obama didn’t have the balls to say the right thing, so vicious was vitriol being spewed. Two people who stood up for Muslims were the Jewish Mayor of NYC Michael Bloomberg and the talk show host John Stewart. Both these people are opinion makers in American Society and they brought some sanity to this debate with their stance. I think they were instrumental more than anyone else in making Americans understand whats at stake in that debate. So just as we muslims don’t like to be painted with a broad brush its the same with all other religions.

  • corco02az

    What Muslims think of America?Surely people living in Muslim countries should be more concerned about what Americans think of them.If Americans get angry, they can actually do something about it.

  • rohit57

    just how serious of a problem the planned event is for America’s image around the world. And America is a very legalistic country which is unable to exercise its common sense. In India, for instance, things would not have got to this pass because the mosque would simply have been blocked by the authorities. And India is not anti-Muslim. India banned Rushdie’s book Satanic Verses for a similar reason. They did not want Indian Muslims to be offended. Common sense needs to triumph over legalisms.There always have been people in America who do not like those who are different. But the opponents of the mosque include MANY OTHERS whose feelings are more moderate and who merely feel that this location is not suitable for any Islam related building.What liberals have been blind to is the existence of the moderate opposition (moderate in feeling but not in numbers) to the mosque/center.It is an old liberal trick – “Everyone who does not agree with us is a right wing maniac.”But this is not an occasion to play that “you are a bigot” game. More serious things are at stake.Many people realize that Jones and Rauf both have the legal right to do what they are planning to do.If Rauf won’t compromise, and liberals support him in his stubborn stance, then why should Jones compromise?Rauf needs to ask himself, “Do I want peace and understanding? Or do I want THIS building at THIS site?”Surely he is aware by now that the two wishes are incompatible. And most of us can see which wish he is choosing.

  • wdalton1us

    Islam is not a religion. It is a cultic political movement pledged to taking over, violently if necessary, any country in which they live. Violent oppression, intolerance and brutal enforcement of their mores and customs are the norms.

  • Delongl

    We all learned from the media in Ground Zero Mosque controversy that if they have right to do it, then we can’t criticize it. Or did that rule change in two weeks?

  • usapdx

    America is a nation under GOD but of no religions what so ever.

  • plzwakeupamerica

    I say burn it, stab it, kick it, and shoot it. They are going to do their mosque ground breaking on the anniversary of 911 and where is the out cry? Screw them all.

  • wajeeh_rehman92

    All hell will break lose if this happens.

  • thomasmc1957

    This isn’t a “church”, it’s a cult of the Devil. His previous congregation expelled him for his demonic hatred.

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