By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2010, 6:04pm PT  

[Late Update: Quran burning back on? Maybe. Late, Late Update: "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever." "Pastor" Terry Jones. Despite the cancellation, deadly protests are staged in Afghanistan. See updates at end.]

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Burn the light to satisfy your darkness….
Burn the love to satisfy your hatred….
Burn the peace to satisfy your anger….
Burn the compassion to satisfy your cruelty….
Burn the knowledge to satisfy your ignorance.

- BRAD BLOG Commenter Hassan Yaghi in response to 8/19/10's "Gainesville, FL, Blocks 9/11 'Koran Burning'":

While many have been disturbed by dangerous implications of the process of dehumanization, which we covered here at The BRAD BLOG in "The 'Ground Zero Mosque' and the Hypnotic Power of Republican Race-Baiting," "Gainesville, FL, Blocks 9/11 'Koran Burning,'" and most especially in the ugliness of "Video: 'I'm Not Even Muslim,' the Black Man in the White Hat Had to Tell the 'Ground Zero' Mob," there is a flip-side.

A display of hatred and intolerance can also bring out the best of our species, as reflected by the elegant words seen above from commenter Hassan Yaghi in response to a whacked out fundamentalist Christian's announced intention to burn the Quran. We covered the recent appropriate and moving response to the "Ground Zero Mosque" silliness by Iraq and Afghan vets standing up to the haters, and now in the following email announcement from Rabbis for Human Rights, announcing a petition and march this weekend in New York City for religious freedom and against intolerance.

Their email, published in full below, notes the group is "concerned by an upsurge in Islamophobia, religious intolerance, hate crimes and attacks on religious freedoms in the United States in recent weeks," and highlights both the planned Quran burning as well as the protests against the planned "Park 51" Muslim community center in downtown New York City, near "Ground Zero." The group also condemned their fellow Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and Zionist Organization of America for their efforts to derail the community center.

While near universal condemnation appears to have put a halt to "Pastor" Terry Jones' planned "International Burn-a-Quran Day," late today --- along with a bizarre attempt to intercede by Donald Trump --- actions and words by good people remain essential in order to counter the virulent and dangerous Islamophobia that has been propagated by hard-right demagogues and their dehumanized followers...

Here's the email from Rabbis for Human Rights...

Rabbis for Human Rights-North America is concerned by an upsurge in Islamophobia, religious intolerance, hate crimes and attacks on religious freedoms in the United States in recent weeks.

The most notable anti-Muslim rhetoric has targeted Park51, a nonsectarian community, cultural and interfaith spiritual center that will house a Muslim prayer area and a monument to honor all those lost on 9/11. Some Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have issued public statements against the building of this community center near Ground Zero.

In protest of the community center project, Islamophobic anti-Park51 organizers are planning a rally near Ground Zero on September 11th. Anti-Park51 rhetoric is spreading violent and destructive anti-Islamic incidents throughout the United States. A Gainesville, Florida church is going as far as organizing an "International Burn a Quran Day" on September 11th and is moving forward with the plans despite widespread political and national security condemnation.

Please join with Rabbis for Human Rights-North America in signing this petition in support of religious freedom and against intolerance. If you are in the greater New York area, please also join activists and staff from Rabbis for Human Rights-North America along with J Street NYC, Religious Freedom USA and a diverse group of supporters at a rally against intolerance on Sunday September 12, 2010 in Lower Manhattan.

Liberty Walk for Religious Freedom
2:30 pm on Sunday September 12, 2010
Meet up at St. Peter's Church, 22 Barclay St. at the corner of Broadway

The event organizers requested that you do not bring signs to the rally, but wearing religious garb and bringing American flags to demonstrate your support for religious freedom in America is encouraged.

'Pastor' Terry Jones dissembles as he retreats

In the face of near universal condemnation and revulsion the messianic "Pastor" Terry Jones announced that he would not go through with the threatened Quran burning; that he intended to fly to New York to broker a compromise on the Park51 cultural and community center with it's leading supporter, Feisal Abdul Rauf, at a meeting supposedly arranged by Imam Muhammad Musri, the head of the Islamic Society of Central Florida.

That came as news to Rauf, who responded that he had not talked to Jones, was aware of no such planned meeting and had no intention of bargaining with him.

"I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Korans," Rauf said. "However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam Musri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other, nor are we going to barter. We are here to extend our hands and build peace and harmony."

Rather curious that the ubiquitous, mustachioed Jones, who has a following of some 50 people, has the grandiose perception that he leads a "world" outreach center and that his sick but noisily announced, and now abandoned, book burning amounts to an "international" event. No doubt there are some psychoanalysts out there who could write entire books about Jones' illusions of grandeur.

Sorry Mr. Trump, religious freedom is not for sale

A Donald Trump offer to purchase an investor's share of the Park51 property for 25% more than he paid to "end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation" was rejected today, with the attorney for the investor describing Trump's offer as "a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight."

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A BRAD BLOG comment posted by Sunnysteve has called to our attention yet another example of what can happen when people of good will step forward.

NBC News video of Muslim prayer offered inside the Heartsong Christian Church in Memphis, TN…


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UPDATE 8:32pm PT: Quran burning on again? Jones says maybe...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida pastor whose plan to burn Qurans on Sept. 11 generated worldwide outrage among Muslims and pressure by the U.S. government to relent said late Thursday that he might not call off the protest after all.

Pastor Terry Jones told NBC News that "we are a little back to square one" after a supposed deal involving a proposed Islamic cultural center in New York evaporated.

This latest twist suggests that there is one more action that citizens of conscious living in or near Gainesville, FL should consider for this Saturday --- A quiet, peaceful march carrying signs past the so-called "Dove World Outreach Center," bearing the words of Heinrich Heine: "Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."

Update 09/11/2010 "Pastor" Terry Jones said his "Congregation" had decided to call off the Quran burning, telling NBC "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever."

Update 09/13/2010 Today, the Los Angeles Times, which had previously reported on the deaths of eleven people relating to protests of "Pastor" Jones' announced plan to burn the Quran, revealed that two more people died Sunday when Afghan police opened fire on anti-Quran burning demonstrators, noting:

The episode also showed the difficulty of tamping down anti-Western sentiment in Afghanistan once popular fury has been whipped up by religious leaders and other organizers — a particular hazard in a country where many people are illiterate and word of the cancellation of the Koran-burning spread only slowly.

The Los Angeles Times article does not mention the "hazard" that arises when the barely literate 'Tea Party' followers were whipped into a "popular fury...by religious leaders and other" anti-Park51 multicultural center organizers, whose "Ground Zero Mosque" protests led to a near-fatal assault on a Muslim New York city cab driver by a knife-wielding assailant.

Hate-speech begets violence.