Wednesday, December 22, 2010



With Doves like These Who Needs Hawks

Hameed Abdul Karim

Islam hater Pastor Terry Jones of The Dove Church in Florida would never have imagined he would be such a world wide ‘celebrity’ when he hit upon the idea of burning copies of the Qur’an to commemorate 9-11.

Luckily for him the US Corporate Media latched on to the story and made him the American hero in line with type of stuff that Hollywood creates to grab your attention. At the initial stage of his campaign they made him ‘act’ like Clint Eastwood. The only thing missing was a cowboy hat and cigar dangling loosely from the corner of his mouth. The guy thought no end of himself.

He had world leaders from the Vatican and the White House at his feet telling him put an end to his crackpot idea. But he would have none of it. ‘Go on… make my day’ he seemed to say a la Eastwood.

Then, as the madness dragged on the focus turned on the media itself. Why should the world wide media give such an obscure Pastor, with a following no bigger than fifty at best, such wide coverage? Was it because they were thrilled that he was burning copies of the Qur’an? After all it’s the very same media that has created the hoopla and hype about Islam and the Muslims constantly demonizing the Islamic faith and its adherents as some medieval nut cases wanting to take a giant leap backwards into history and live their lives in there in some sort of spiritual bliss. So in a sense Pastor Jones is a product of the media or rather a victim. He does not know anything about Islam or the Muslims except of what he sees of the two on TV day in and day out. And what he sees is a negative portrayal intended to create fear of Islam and Muslims in the West. It’s called ‘Islamophobia’. Fear follows hate and that’s what we see happening in the West. So much so, that Switzerland had voted in favour of banning minarets –even though there only about four or so mosques in the whole of Switzerland that have minarets. France has banned the face covering for women even though there are hardly 4000 women who wear the Niqab in the whole of France.

Burning scripture is not a novel idea. Way back in 2002 on Christmas day a group of Zionist Jews burned a copy of the New Testament in public in Beit Shemiesh in Israel according to The Jerusalem Post. But the corporate media ignored the incident. And why, may you ask? Well, your guess is good as mine. During the reign of Bill Clinton about 30 churches were burned, not in any Muslim country, but in the very heartland of the Bible belt in the USA. All the churches were ‘black’. So Pastor Terry Jones cannot lay a claim to be the first guy in the burning business.

Responding to Pastor Terry Jones’ rank stupidity an Arab Catholic priest, Father Elias Zahlavi, invited him to Syria, his home country, and see for himself the world view of Islam and the Muslims and how Muslims there practice their faith in harmony with their Christian brethren. He told him to ‘come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers. Come to Damascus and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind and expectation of all churches of the West or their bishops pastors and clergymen. Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return’. And the West’s media, on the instructions of George Bush the lesser, has made the world believe that Syria is the ‘Axis of Evil’.

It’s about time the people in the West and the Muslim ‘world’ took a stock of what they see in the corporate media Muslims, especially, should have ignored the ‘Qur’an Burning’ media hype and reacted in a manner that is not expected of them. Instead, in some countries they reacted just the way the media wanted them to thus fitting neatly into the stereotype caricatures they have manufactured to reinforce the ‘fear and hate’ narratives of Islam and the Muslims they propound on a daily basis. The Muslims who called the Pastor’s bluff were not brought into the picture. That would go against the grain.

Muslims should have known that no matter how many Qur’ans Pastor Jones burned there are millions of copies the world over and no Pastor of Terry Jones’s notoriety can destroy them all. Besides, there are millions of Muslims, spread all over the globe, who have committed the entire Qur’an to memory. Some of them are as young as seven or eight.

As Pastor Jones’ deadline neared, the Western media took another twist. At that point they projected him as a fraud and gave a negative picture of the guy. Then they went on a charm offensive pretending to subdue the anger of Muslims and telling them ‘hey, we are not the bad guys after all’. Something seems to have backfired or did they think the episode had to end. It had to, at some time. Soon, very soon, it will be time for another episode of the ‘fear and hate’ narrative against Islam and the Muslims. Mark those words. The show, as they say, must go on.

President Barack Obama, General David Petreus and even the right-wing Sarah Palin weighed in with a word or two. But all of them did so for the wrong reasons. Obama claimed that Pastor Jones’ recklessness might become a ‘recruitment bonanza’ for Al-Qaida; General Petreus thought he might endanger the lives of Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sarah Palin felt that it might precipitate the actual construction of the Islamic Centre close to Ground Zero! None of them thought that, basically, it was not a nice, right or decent thing to do. The three were being immoral.

Pastor Terry Jones has now canceled his plans to burn the Qur’an. That’s good news. But the controversy will be remembered thanks to its sensationalising by the corporate media. Pastor Jones is now out on a loose limb. The more we saw of him on TV towards the tail end of his theatrics the more he reminded us of Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther - confused, and with a deadpan look. No more macho Clint Eastwood stuff.

Pastor Terry Jones is the founder of the Dove Church. A dove symbolizes peace. But with doves like these who needs hawks? Tell me.

No comments:

Post a Comment