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An Open Letter To Pastor Terry Jones

Dear Pastor Terry Jones-

I understand that on September 11th, you plan on carrying out the act of burning Qur'ans with your local church. Do you seriously realize the significance of the act you're about to carry out? This will create all sorts of complications and security concerns for our troops in Afghanistan. This will cause and fuel much emotion throughout our own country as well. You say that you and your church plan on carrying firearms to the event, in the case your lives are threatened. Do you realize that there could be a shootout at your event? You could die, as well as members of your congregation, for burning Qur'ans. Is this something you're willing to do? Put your own congregation's lives on the line for your personal hatred towards Islam?

I would ask if this is the Christian thing to do, but I already saw an interview of you on ABC News, and know what your response would be. Except, what does it mean when Jesus Christ said:

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Or again, in Luke:

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise

Even a lawyer asked Jesus what he should do to obtain eternal life:

25 ¶ And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

Most people, Christians and non-Christians alike, are familiar with this law knows as the "Golden Rule". Even Islam, the religion you hate so much, teaches that a true Muslim must do good to others, and treat them as they would want to be treated. To be a Christian, that is, to follow the teachings of Jesus, means to actually follow the teachings of Jesus. Jesus never advocated war. He never advocated hate. He taught that you should

44. ... Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

and further that

29. ... unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.

Do you understand what Christianity is about? Do you really?

It's unfortunate that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened on September 11th, 2001. Not only did America mourn, but the world. The Council for American Islamic Relations, and other Islamic organizations, raised money and provided countless acts of service to help provide relief for those families that lost loved ones in the attacks. World leaders, including including those of Islamic faith, expressed their sincere condolences to our country. It's been 9 years since the attacks, all of the rebuilding, all of the love and charity from others, all of the support from so many, you are willing to put on the line, for your own personal gratification and hate.

Even putting religion aside, I'm a member of the Ubuntu community. Ubuntu was chosen because of the philosophy it stands for and the meaning it conveys. It's a philosophy everyone should stand for, and I'm proud to be a member of a community where such a high regard for human dignity and respect is held.

One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu - the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality - Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

- Archbishop Desmod Tutu

This past month, as a Christian, I've been fasting with Islam the entire month of Ramadan, from dawn to sunset. It's been a difficult task, but I did it primarily to raise awareness that Islam is not a religion of terror. I'm fasting, because of prejudiced people like you and the radical, extreme actions they take and the views they hold. I've read the Qur'an, now four times. I know what it teaches. I know the basic tenets and beliefs of Islam. I have many, many Muslim friends. I understand what Islam stands for, and it's not the message you are trying to convey. I hope, somehow, that my actions have an effect on others, and it would mean the world to me if they somehow changed your mind.

I know you're upset. I know you have a lot of fiery emotions that have boiled over. You want to make a stand against terrorism, and you want to be heard. Well, you have been heard. You have had the spotlight. You have the world listening. Our own government is urging you to stop, and think what ramifications your act of burning Qur'ans could have on the American public, and the world stage at large. Don't go through with it. Don't put lives in danger, because of your feeling towards Islam. Your act of burning Qur'ans is no different than the terrorist act of those who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Stand on higher ground.

If you do decide to continue with your act of terror, then I hope it rains in Gainesville, Florida, hard enough to prevent you from building your bonfire. Further, I hope that no one's lives are taken by your decision to burn the Qur'an, both at your church, and around the world. Step down Pastor Jones, step down.

Sincerely, a loving Christian, praying for you,
Aaron Toponce

{ 68 } Comments

  1. Trey Ethridge using Firefox 3.6.8 on Windows XP | September 8, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    I'm just curious how many times you've read the bible. I'm not judging you or anything you have done. I'm just curious after following your posts over the past month or so. I remember you had mentioned previously about reading the Quran 4 times.

  2. Tom using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    All superstitous/religious people are in a way nutjobs .. they don't like to hear it, but that is the way it is. Either you believe in facts or fiction.

    I only believe in facts.

  3. zombiepig using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu 64 bits | September 8, 2010 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Just read this on Planet Ubuntu and thought I'd say I really respect and agree with what you're saying here. Thanks for a really well worded and thought out post.

  4. Seung Soo, Ha using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on GNU/Linux | September 8, 2010 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I too,y respect and agree with what you. I hope things end for the best.

  5. Daniel Thomas using Google Chrome 6.0.472.55 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this. As a Christian myself I agree with you completely.

  6. zenarcher using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu 64 bits | September 8, 2010 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you for a well written, well thought out letter. As you have done, I have read the Quar'an, the Bible (Catholic and King James), the Torah and many other religious books in my search for answers. As you have so well stated, no religion teaches violence nor war. No religion I've encountered is "evil," that is the realm of some who follow religions and become self-appointed spokespersons. I've lived in many parts of the world during my life and shared the cultures of many groups of different religious backgrounds. One aspect most all have shared is respect and understanding of different beliefs. Something disappearing here in America today. Religion is personal and if one focuses on practicing their religion in the own life, they do not have time to attempt to impose their beliefs on the lives of others. Whatever our own religious beliefs, we all share this planet together. We can work together and make it a better place, or we can fragment and make it a world of intolerance and hatred. It's our future.

  7. lo0m using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    SANCHEZ: How would you feel if a Muslim said to you, what you just said to them? I have no problem with you Mr. Christian, you’re welcome in my country, but I’m burning your Bible.
    JONES: I would not like it. But it’s our right. We live in America!...

    this guy is insane and unfortunately will do it anyway.. but thanks for being an honest and feeling human being

  8. TGm using Internet Explorer 7.0 on Windows XP | September 8, 2010 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    That's exactly why ALL religion is outdated and rapidly becoming the biggest threat to our own existance.

  9. jani using Google Chrome 5.0.375.125 on GNU/Linux | September 8, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Not sure why the main or at least first argument brought up against this book-burning keeps being the welfare of the troops in Afghanistan. Is not the actual act of hate that this burning is a lot more serious a problem? A Christian pastor openly calling for such a thing is incitement to hate. What if there were no troops in Afghanistan, or no danger of Americans or Chirstians incurred because of this? Would it be ok then to burn Qur'ans?

  10. Daniel Thomas using Google Chrome 6.0.472.55 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    @jani No it would still not be ok for anyone who claimed to be Christian to burn Qur’ans. However from the point of view of a government the protection of it's citizens is the most important reason.

  11. Victor using Google Chrome 7.0.517.0 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    "You want to make a stand against terrorism, and you want to be heard. Well, you have been heard. You have had the spotlight. You have the world listening. Our own government is urging you to stop, and think what ramifications your act of burning Qur’ans could have on the American public, and the world stage at large."This makes me think that the media is equally responsible of any ramifications of his acts. This because news reports -- on television and _especially_ on the Internet -- will spread the news to extreme Islamics who might feel the need to arrange an attack. Don't give him the time of day and it won't matter too much! The media chooses to first blabber to everyone, instead of first trying to dissuade him. Shame on you, media.

  12. Bilal using Firefox 4.0b5 on GNU/Linux | September 8, 2010 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Completely agreed.

  13. d2kx using Google Chrome 7.0.503.0 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    So why do I have to read about whatever religious stuff when I go to Planet Ubuntu to find out about news in the open source scene?

  14. Jonathan using Google Chrome 5.0.375.127 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with d2kx on this. I don't think this post + the other posts on Ramadan etc should be posted on planet Ubuntu. These types of posts have nothing to do w/ Linux, Ubuntu or the Open Source world. I'm glad you feel strongly about this enough to post a blog post about, but wonder why you feel this should be syndicated.

  15. madmed using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I don't understand how this man became a pastor!! Nowadays, everyone who attacks Islam become famous, I think this is why he did it. Anyway, muslims will never burn bibles or torah because they fear God.

  16. Vek using Mozilla Compatible 5.0 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The way I see it, these guys are pretty insensitive to do this, and its not furthering the cause of tolerance.

    However, the REACTION to this, should they go through with this, will be interesting. If its a violent one, it will merely justify the burning because it will validate everything they are claiming about Islam. If Islamists respond by burning bibles, well, I guess chalk one up for free speech, but it'd be petty and only prolong the fighting. The only correct move in response would appear to be to not to respond with anything except a denouncement of the act and then move on. However, I suspect violence will ensue, because of the actual true nature of Islam, just based on past observations.

  17. Mackenzie using Firefox 3.6.7 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    d2kx & Jonathan:
    Planet Ubuntu is not meant to be just a place for technical stuff. It is "a window into the lives of those contributing to Ubuntu" -- any part of our lives. As long as what is posted is family-friendly and in the Spirit of Ubuntu, it is welcome.

    Aaron:
    Thank you

  18. anon using Internet Explorer 8.0 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Aaron I'd be interested in hearing your opinion of something I once read; that Arabic has quite a different mind-map compared to English and that Quran should thus be read in Arabic to really understand it (kind of like Tao Te Ching / Chinese)

    Do you agree with above? (mainly I'm interested in knowing if it is of use to read the Quran in English (ie. critical information is not 'lost in translation')

  19. Mark using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | September 8, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I'm an atheist, so all religions seem strange and inconsistent to me. I identify myself as a Secular Humanist, so I basically live my life based on the Golden Rule because it's the only rule of *any* creed that makes sense!

    I just had to say that I wish that more people who call themselves Christian would use your logic and insight and realize that nutjobs of every stripe ruin it for everyone else. Only by moderates standing up against the extremists within their own faiths will we be able to stop future wars based on ideology and stupidity. Terry Jones is deluding himself if he can't see the similarity between himself and a Muslim who stirs up his people against the West.

  20. passerby using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Aaron, you are a good man.

  21. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    @Vek "However, I suspect violence will ensue, because of the actual true nature of Islam, just based on past observations."
    I was just wondering whether, based on past observations, the violence that ensued in Iraq after 9/11 -despite the complete lack of any connection between the two- could, as well, be attributed to 'the actual true nature of America'. If that's the case, then -based on your observation- Islam and America have a whole lot in common.

  22. Stuart using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    They say on European news that Terry Jones is a used-furniture salesman who exploits his "believers" into working for free in his business.

    I suppose that this aggressive, unchristian and antihuman act is publicity for his commercial ventures.

    It is truly sad that someone could show such disrespect for the beliefs of others, could alienate all moderate muslims and risk the life and freedom of christians in immoderate countries.

  23. Aoirthoir An Broc using Google Chrome 5.0.375.125 on GNU/Linux | September 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    "So why do I have to read about whatever religious stuff when I go to Planet Ubuntu to find out about news in the open source scene?"

    and

    "agree with d2kx on this. I don’t think this post + the other posts on Ramadan etc should be posted on planet Ubuntu. These types of posts have nothing to do w/ Linux, Ubuntu or the Open Source world."

    and

    "Planet Ubuntu is not meant to be just a place for technical stuff. It is “a window into the lives of those contributing to Ubuntu” — any part of our lives. As long as what is posted is family-friendly and in the Spirit of Ubuntu, it is welcome."

    I'm agreeing with MacKenzie on this one. It is really ridiculous that people keep trying to police other's political views, ideals, religions and so on on Planet Ubuntu. You don't like the post it's easy enough to skip it. I happen to disagree with it on some fundamental points, but I still want him to post it and exercise his freedom of speech.

    "However, the REACTION to this, should they go through with this, will be interesting. If its a violent one, it will merely justify the burning because it will validate everything they are claiming about Islam"

    The more things like this happen the more the extremists will realize, they just don't have power over the rest of the world.

    Now some other comments. The claim that no religion teaches violence or teaches it in their holy books is utter and complete bunk. It's a total lie. The Bible has violence, The Quran has violence (and BOTH teach it, though in different respects...), Pagans have historically like Christians and Muslims been violent, Buddhism claims non-violence but their history tells another story, Hinduism, Native American paths and every religion has a history to one degree or another of violence and teaching violence.

    I hope we see more of these posts calling out not just Christian burnings of the Quran, but destructions of Holy Pagan Sites, restrictions on Christians, Jews, Women, Hindus, Pagans, "adulterers", "blasphemers" and others in Muslim and Western controlled nations, restrictions on Pagans in Western Lands, restrictions on those living alternative lifestyles. EG. MacKenzie's comment about about "family friendly" is code for people like me to not talk about our alternative sexualities, genders and so on.

    So good on the OP for bringing this to light and let's hope he doesn't stop here and isn't only "Muslim friendly" but is also Pagan friendly, because the amount of marginalization we face in the West for our faiths is sickening. (In Muslim countries we don't face marginalization, because we're just not allowed to be there at all....).

  24. ethana2 using Google Chrome 5.0.375.127 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I'm sure the WBC would be proud. The muslim world will see this and say "Christianity is a religion of hatred."

    Free speech is important, but seriously..

  25. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    @anon "mainly I’m interested in knowing if it is of use to read the Quran in English (ie. critical information is not ‘lost in translation’"
    anon, hope you don't mind but I'll allow myself, as a Muslim, to answer your question. The Quran is the literal words of Allah, the one and only God. He has chosen it to be in Arabic.
    The sophistication of the Arabic language was historically a source of pride for the Arabs where the value of poetry and articulate forms of speech was immeasurable.
    When the Quran was revealed it challenged the Arabs in the art of speech of which they have always claimed to be the masters. It stunned them. Despite the initial and violent refusal of Islam by the elite Arabs of Mecca, no one ever took up that challenge or even -falsely- attempted to claim any inferior quality or flaws in the Quran. Such a characteristic of the Quran in addition to others such as; the effect on the reader's heart, the tranquility associated with its recitation and the sacredness of the text, are simply lost with any attempt of translation. Nevertheless, the overall meaning of the verses can be accurately conveyed though you'll probably need to read a translation that is quite lengthier than the original text. If you do ever attempt to read the Quran make sure the translation contains pointers to the context and occasion of the verses. This way when you read verses that deal with fighting and war you can understand the intended meaning and then you can judge for yourself.

  26. gm using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    rm -rf /theism

    Let's argue on facts and problems and not on superstition or other beliefs.
    See religious books as fairy tales/fables with some morale teaching, but remove this theism and let people think for theirself.
    This would not remove all conflicts (e.g. rich vs poor), but would make things honest.

    You do not nead imaginery friends if you have real ones ;)

  27. ethana2 using Google Chrome 5.0.375.127 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    You know what makes me happy? They fixed Chromium's useragent so they know we're on Ubuntu now. Once they package Firefox betas, fix Epiphany and Midori, and people stop using Google's repos for Chrome, we'll all be properly accounted for, and people will let rest the lie that the linux desktop is 'fragmented'.

  28. Jensen using Firefox 3.5.9 on Windows XP | September 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I think this so called "God (or whatever you have learned to call it)" is fraud. Use your own minds people. If this higher entity was not taught to our children, they would have no religion to fight about.

  29. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    @Jensen
    I must say that your post stands out. Did you know that over 85% of the world's population have a religion and that many whom have studied 'human' nature acknowledge this (the need to have a religion) as a basic human need and nature (at least for the aforementioned 85%).
    Do you realize how silly that makes you sound when you arrogantly claim that what's practiced by 85% of the planet is based on 'fraud'. Do you know where that puts you in the eyes of 85% of humanity?
    Jensen, I'm sure you have a mind of your own but are you using it???

  30. Mackenzie using Firefox 3.6.7 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Aoirthor:
    "Family friendly" does not mean no mentioning alternative sexualities. Want to write a blog post about a same-sex wedding you attended? Go ahead! Polyamoury? Fine! It just means leave the intimate details of what happens in the bedroom on the honeymoon out of it ;-) Likewise, discussing gender is not a problem in my mind. Transfolk exist. So what?

    I have no idea where the notion that hearing about gay people is bad for children came from. If they don't hear about it as kids, they're going to be pretty darned confused grownups! (I was 6 when I learned that lesbian means "a girl who like-likes other girls.")

  31. Mackenzie using Firefox 3.6.7 on Windows 7 | September 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Aoirthor:
    Basically, I think the meaning of "family friendly" is the same for straights and queers. Straights don't tend to talk about hot bedroom action in front of youngsters, and neither do queers.

    And no fair trying to guess which category I fall into ;-) I don't answer that question anymore.

  32. Aaron using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on Windows XP | September 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the comments. I'm sure more will come in. Let me first state that Planet Ubuntu is not just for Ubuntu-relate posts and topics. It is an aggregation of personal blogs of those who have contributed to Ubuntu enough to become an official Ubuntu Member. There are no restrictions placed on what can and cannot be posted to the planet, as long as they adhere to the code of conduct.

    Now to address some comments addressed to me:

    @Trey Ethridge- Cover to cover, I have probably only read the Bible 5 or 6 times. However, I have studied its verses, chapters, stories and doctrines intensely. I've been to seminary, Sunday School and various study groups deeply studying it. I'm no scriptorian by any means, but I'm quite familiar with the Bible and its many aspects.

    @zenarcher, I try to keep an open mind. If God does exist, which I believe He does, then His truth will be evident in many religions. There might be one religion who has a fullness of the truth, there might not. What's important is to recognize these truths, and judge the religion based on these beliefs, not the acts of its individual members.

    @Vek, You hold the same view as Terry Jones. Some how, you think that it's the religion as a whole to blame for its members actions. This is misplaced judgment. Islam has never condoned violence. What you see are the stirred and mixed up emotions of its members, just as Pastor Terry Jones is emotionally charged right now. You wouldn't blame Christianity for his actions, would you?

    @Makenzie, You're welcome. :)

    @anon, Of course you are going to lose some meaning and rhythm when a translation occurs from any tongue into a different one. The problem is amplified when you try to either keep the translation literal or interpretive. From what I've read, although I don't know Arabic, the two translations that I have a copy of, both have tried to keep the interpretive meaning as close to as possible. As such, the poetic rhythm of the verses isn't preserved. However, it still is a beautiful piece of work, and it's very clear what the Qur'an is trying to teach.

    @passerby, Thank you.

    @Stuart, I don't know about the used furniture salesman bit. That seems like trying to rationalize his actions, and put the blame no something other than himself. I do agree with you that this is a very sad story, that someone would disrespect what billions of others hold so dear.

    @Aoirthoir An Broc, I have 100% full tolerance for religious and non-religious alike. If the same thing was happening to Jews, athiests, Hindus or Buddhists, you would see the same ringing topic. That is, that judgement should be appropriately placed, and prejudice and racism should stop dead cold.

  33. Andrew using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Aaron:

    I have loads of respect for you discovering and experiencing other cultures and ideas. Please keep us informed of your experiences.

    I definitely agree with your general sentiment in this post, but vehemently disagree that burning a book is no different from killing people. [1]

    And while do not agree with Terry Jones' methods (nor his beliefs), in a true, free, democracy there should not be any idea which cannot be criticized (even this one).

    I understand that I'm arguing from an academic point of view and that pragmatically Terry Jones' act will incite violence. This is why I am against him acting and _not_ the principle.

    Ideas don't have rights. People do.

    [1]: "Your act of burning Qur’ans is no different than the terrorist act of those who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon."

  34. gm using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Religious fundamentalism is nothing else than racism (on a different level).
    One fundamentalist in 10000 people is too much.
    Supporting theism by blinding children (they do not have the chance to think about it if it is teached like languages) is potential new blood for fundamentalists.

    And some arguments like "85% of population ..." are stupid because of the viral spread through teaching such bs to your children.

  35. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Religion is fundamental to the lives of the vast majority of humans. Calling teaching it "viral spread" of bs to children indicates the fecal constituency of the logic of the person who makes such a claim. It might also point out the possibility of being brought up in a toilet environment where lack of manners and uttering such crap is normal.

  36. gm using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Well, if getting personal is your only countermeasure...

    It might be a bit exaggerated, but mark my claims false. Would your children really believe in something that mysterious and unprovable if they first heard about it in the age of 20? I am not talking about religion in the sense of tradition, I am talking about theism. Exchange "god" with "flying spagghetti monster" and you probably see what I mean. What do you think about Nostradamus? Do you make a difference to stories about a "god"?

    500 years ago 99% of the population thougt the world is flat like a pizza.

  37. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I'm not getting personal. I'm just pointing out your impolite style.
    As for your claims I see nothing but racism (on a different level) to use your words. You're an extremist atheist. What you perceive as mysterious and unprovable is not seen as such by many many people. Moreover, this harshness in attitude will definitely prevent you from understanding the others' point of view. I'm not asking you to believe but try to understand so you can better evaluate the scale of the issue. And honestly I don't comprehend your "flying spagghetti" analogy. Conflict regarding religion is a vast issue and can't be resolved with a short y/n question.
    FYI 99% of the population 500 yrs ago did a nickel's worth of care about how the earth is shaped. And what has this got to do with religion any way?

  38. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    *n't give*

  39. choad using Unknown on Unknown O.S. | September 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I don't believe in god or Christ. Doesn't make me a bad person. But I sure love porn.

  40. Xuacu using Mozilla Compatible 5.0 on GNU/Linux | September 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Dear Aaron.
    While I don't care much about religions, I really appreciate your efforts to "walk on other's shoes". I wish this kind of things happens more often, because understanding others is part of Ubuntu (as in Desmond Tutu speech and, also, as in our OS philosophy).
    Let's keep on looking for truth, knowledge and friendship; we'll find each other in our way!

  41. Ted Trent using Internet Explorer 8.0 on Windows Vista | September 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Wrong people---The Mossad and very powerful CIA and White House parties were the culperts of 9-11---Please read Christopher Bolyn excellent research work on his site

  42. Vek using Mozilla Compatible 5.0 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    The saddest part is that none of this would be happening if people didn't blow things out of proportion and get so offended.
    If someone burns a bible, they're an asshole but so what?
    If someone burns a koran, same deal. but so what?

    All this publicity is only giving them power. I long for the day when everyone has a thick enough skin to realize that you aren't offended by something, you TAKE offense to it, and you can stop doing so and live a much happier life, and also rob the instigators of their power over you.

    You aren't BORN to get pissed when someone burns a holy book - you're indoctrinated into doing that through a series of childhood mental programming. You can unprogram yourself. You'll be happier once you do, I promise! I don't mean to forsake a religion - just other peoples power to get you all pissed and angry about something petty that doesn't matter. You can still believe in the bible and not get pissed when someone burns one. Its just a book. Your faith should not be so weak as to be swayed by that anyway, right?

    And this goes for all religions - not just Islam. The only reason this idiot is making a spectacle out of burning Korans is because of the crapstorm it brews, and the publicity that brings, and the only reason it brews it to such a ferocity is that Muslims appear to be the LEAST capable of shrugging off such offenses and make the biggest stir about it. See: Danish cartoons, South Park stuff, "death to america" rallies, "free speech is evil" rallies, etc.

    Now, I'm not saying all Muslims are like this - everything in this world is on a bell curve - there's extremists on the one side and tolerance on the other, and probably a majority thats somewhere in between just like any population curve. However, Islam seems to be tilted to the right, farther than most other religions - the number of extremists seems to be higher, their popularity seems to be bigger, and the average and mean of the curve seems to be shifted over towards the extreme.

  43. xiaoxin using Firefox 3.6.8 on Windows XP | September 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I agree with d2kx on this. I don’t think this post + the other posts on Ramadan etc should be posted on planet Ubuntu. These types of posts have nothing to do w/ Linux, Ubuntu or the Open Source world. I’m glad you feel strongly about this enough to post a blog post about, but wonder why you feel this should be syndicated.

  44. Mackenzie using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Vek:
    Blaming the victim for someone choosing to be a jerk is putting the blame in the wrong place.

    And I think if you take a look at things like murdering abortion doctors and blowing up Planned Parenthoods, you'll see Christians are just as good at getting violence over being offended as Muslims are.

  45. sbjaved using Opera 9.80 on Unknown O.S. | September 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    thankyou. it is good to see some one non-islamic speaking for moderate muslims. most muslims are not soulless terrorists. we respect everyone. burning our holy book will only justify the extremist clerics and their hate mongering.

  46. Vek using Mozilla Compatible 5.0 on Ubuntu | September 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Mackenzie: Normally blaming the victim is bad. But in this case, not only is the victim in this case CHOOSING to become offended, upset, and violent about something that doesn't actually harm them in any way, but is successfully portraying themselves as the victim when they're not.

    Also good job comparing someone who burns a book that belongs to them (be it a bible or a Koran or websters dictionary or the mona lisa wrapped up in an american flag) with murderers and terrorists, I see the victim logic is totaly working on you.

  47. lo0m using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on Windows 7 | September 9, 2010 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    @anon: Bashar propably gave you a better answer. This is just some insight from Central Europe. Here, every translation of Koran is based on a translation from circa 1900, which is in turn based on some (I believe) German translation. I read Koran in Czech and I found some really disturbing passages. I then compared them with English translation and found them translated from Arabic in a similar way. However, when I took those passages and asked some Muslim teacher, he gave me really different translation (then I tried to translate some passages from Arabic on my own). I was of course most interested in passages about women, jihad, infidels, etc. I don't agree with Koran but I found out, that europeans battling with fear of Islam don't know nothing about it. And - Koran sang by Arab is really beautiful. It's like hearing an opera from different world..

  48. Rusty using Google Chrome 5.0.375.127 on GNU/Linux | September 9, 2010 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    He's been told, and doesn't care. He is a part of the problem.

  49. anonymous using Firefox 3.6.3 on Windows 7 | September 9, 2010 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Personally I don't understand the big deal in that it's just a book. If it was an original Qur'an that was in a museum or he was burning someone else's Qur'ans that wasn't his property or if he went to an actual Mosque and was going to burn it in front of it then I could get that . I mean if the Pastor made multiple copies of a PDF of the Qur'an on his computer and threated to delete them is that an offense also? I personally blame the media since it's obvious Pastor Terry is a troll. If they wouldn't have covered him no one would have even known about it, but the media stirs up things like this and the Mosque in NYC for ratings. If any soldiers die from this(which personally I think them just being there, all the drone attacks the invasion itself etc is more than reason enough for the locals to hate them but thats another point) I would blame the media first. I don't think he should do it , but I still think he should have the right to if he wants to make a book store more profit and look like an idiot for throwing away his own money. If someone is offended the best thing is to ignore him that will hurt his cause more than anything.

  50. jack using Firefox 3.5.12 on Windows 7 | September 9, 2010 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    rev Terry Jones is forgetting what consequences christian minorities in Muslim countries will have to face. specially in countries like Pakistan where christian minorities are already persecuted because of mass radicalism present there. This is an open invitation to violence moreover burning the quran is not in any way a christian way . how can he as a christian pastor be doing something that is against all the teachings in the scripture. If he carries on this act he is just becoming an extremist himself, since he is aiding the terrorist agenda himself.

  51. Bashar using Firefox 3.6.8 on Ubuntu | September 9, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    @Vek
    has it ever occurred to you that what you think is also nothing but the effect of a lifetime of brainwashing and programming by what you see on TV, the movies and the commercial media?
    What really is sad is that you seem to have nothing that you cherish. You 'think' it is power to disconnect yourself from being emotionally offended and disturbed when something of great value to you is attacked. To me this is one step further into becoming a machine. I would never want that. This is another form of death.
    A normal person would nearly go insane if a petty car that he has been, year after year, saving to purchase gets smashed. I would really like to see you when your house gets burned or when you lose millions in life savings that you've invested on the stock market and then simply say "so what? I'm just programmed to think that's important"
    To Muslims the Quran is more important, not just than money, but than life itself. it is not our problem if you don't comprehend that. Maybe you need to read and learn more although this is not the issue here. You cannot dictate how others feel about what they mostly value. when you do that it sounds very patronizing when in reality you are just a powerless and incapable person which doesn't make you sound very appealing.
    When you give an opinion about something try to understand the other side, not just yourself and your views of matters. You see in the eyes of others you are 10x more skewed than they seem to you. If you understand my point it might help you construct better arguments whenever you discuss with or debate Muslims or any other group that you don't agree with.

  52. Orrin using Firefox 3.6.8 on Windows Vista | September 9, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I disagree that Jesus never advocated war. When Jesus was in the temple and saw that his father's house had been turned into a marketplace he was filled with righteous anger and threw them all out (Mark 11:15, Matthew 21:12, Luke 19:45). In the example Jesus gave us, I think there is a place for standing up for God's truth at the risk of offending others. Is some cases is not tough love still love? Jesus does these people a favor by kicking them out, teaching them a lesson, and giving them insight into what is wrong in the world.

    I'm not saying that burning the Qur’an is the answer, my only point is that Jesus did get angry, and when he did it was for the glory of his father in Heaven.

  53. Aaron using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on GNU/Linux | September 9, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Getting filled with anger and advocating war are two completely different things. Besides, I don't think anyone here doubts that Christ got upset at times. What I think is being said, at least I'm saying it, is that Christ never taught to hate. He always taught to love. The Qur'an burning is not an act of love. It's not initiated out of love. It's not something Christ would teach or participate in.

  54. Aaron using Google Chrome 6.0.472.14 on Windows 7 | September 9, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    @xiaoxin Thanks for posting your reply, but trying to insert links for your business in a shady, spamming manner won't get you far. As a result, I removed your links, but left the content of your comment in place.

    In regards to Planet Ubuntu, the planet is NOT just for posts about GNU/Linux, Ubuntu or the Open Source world. The planet is for Ubuntu Members who would like to syndicate their blog, regardless of content. Its intent is to be a portal into the personal lives of it's major contributors. As long as I adhere to the code of conduct, I'm free to post as I please. If you don't like the topic, then don't read it.

  55. Vek using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu | September 9, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    @bashar: The trick about the brainwashing stuff is to realize that it has occured and get out of it, instead of being okay with it. Sure, TV ads are filtering into every aspect of our life. The first step with them is to realize that it has occurred and train your way out of it.

    @bashar: A normal person would go crazy if their precious belongings were destroyed by someone else, yes. But this isn't someone else's belongings. These are bulk-order Qu'ran purchased by this person and belonging to him. You do realize that they print these things in factories at like thousands per hour, right? (probably more)

    Also, aren't Muslims not supposed to worship idols? Isn't that the whole point of not ever showing the Prophet? It seems to me that the Qu'ran has definitely become the idol here. Especially someone else's Qu'ran that doesn't even belong to you. That level of fever says to me that the book is becoming more important to people than their faith is.

    Now I understand that Muslims might feel anger and be upset at this act - but I also say he has a right to do it, even though its a jerky and/or hateful thing to do. The Muslims do not instantly gain the right to attack/kill this person. They do not gain the right to retaliate by burning other people's property. They do not have the right to never ever be offended by anything. What I am saying is that of all the responses they could have to this, the correct response is to ignore it and rise above it and be better than the jerk.

    Also the whole thing about "understanding the other side"? What? You don't need to understand the other side to know that this guy is a jerk and you don't need to understand the other side to look at their options and see which is the best response to this. They can go violent, or they can respond with the same actions, or they can rise above it. Those are their options no matter how they feel about it or whether you understand the other side or not.

    Responding with violence only proves his point. This is not a good option. It doesn't matter what your feelings are.
    Responding with burning your own stuff (bibles, for example) only stokes the flames and provides no real solution. This is not a good option, it makes the world a worse place overall.
    Rising above it, making yourself the better person, and ignoring this man will make him disappear.

    This man is only doing this because of the reaction it will get, and he's picking Islam specifically because it has the biggest reaction. I blame both parties, the Muslims for MAKING it such a big deal, and this man for USING that.

  56. Daniel using Firefox 3.0.5 on Mac OS | September 9, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    @anon: I am learning Arabic and have gone through many translations of the Qur'an and as posted earlier, there is no possibility of capturing the essence of the Qur'an in a translation. This is primarily due to a language based on consonantal root forms, which allows for a resonance that is not possible within other languages. I liken it to looking at the pieces of a clock scattered on a table and trying to compare that to a clock where all the pieces are working in sync. I have a review of the translation that I have found to be best here:

    http://tinyurl.com/quran-asad-translation

    salamat

  57. Aoirthoir An Broc using Google Chrome 5.0.375.125 on GNU/Linux | September 9, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Basher said "It stunned them. Despite the initial and violent refusal of Islam by the elite Arabs of Mecca, no one ever took up that challenge or even -falsely- attempted to claim any inferior quality or flaws in the Quran. ".

    Maybe, maybe not. Those that win wars worldwide throughout history have been quite content to rewrite history to make themselves seem most favorable.

    "Did you know that over 85% of the world’s population have a religion and that many whom have studied ‘human’ nature acknowledge this (the need to have a religion) as a basic human need"

    Well, I am religious, a Pagan. However, those that you claim have "acknowledged this need" are most certainly religious also. You are quite unlikely to find a complete atheist researcher making this claim. Could it be that religious folks like you and I that draw such conclusions have a vested interested in the conclusions we have drawn? Or could it be that we are merely "drawing a predefined" conclusion, regardless of facts?

    Mackenzie said "“Family friendly” does not mean no mentioning alternative sexualities. Want to write a blog post about a same-sex wedding you attended? Go ahead! Polyamoury? Fine!"

    Fine with you sure. Not fine with a great majority and for having said such things we've been marginalized and told DIRECTLY that our lifestyle is not permissible topics for conversation.

    "It just means leave the intimate details of what happens in the bedroom on the honeymoon out of it "

    Uh huh cause that's what we do. This is a common tactic to marginalize those of [so-called] alternate sexualities. Let's pretend that we're giving graphic descriptions of our private moments, when all we're doing is mentioning that we have a boyfriend....

    "I have no idea where the notion that hearing about gay people is bad for children came from."

    Don't know don't care. Ubuntu claims to be inclusive, it's not.

    "Basically, I think the meaning of “family friendly” is the same for straights and queers. Straights don’t tend to talk about hot bedroom action in front of youngsters, and neither do queers."

    Really? Cause from the claims of some of yens, you would think we queers were talking about sex and intimate details of our lives all the time in front of kids...notice how you have to tell me what is and is not acceptable as if 1...I didn't know this shite and 2...I and other queers were doing it. We're NOT. I am telling you from MY experience and the experience of MANY that our language is policed merely for MENTIONING A DINNER DATE with a loved one.

    Aaron said "If the same thing was happening to Jews, athiests, Hindus or Buddhists, you would see the same ringing topic. That is, that judgement should be appropriately placed, and prejudice and racism should stop dead cold."

    Um, I am skeptical. We Pagans are marginalized QUITE A BIT and even murdered in the west. And we are murdered in Muslim controlled lands but there are so few of us there that it's likely not newsworthy to most. (NOTE...most muslims DONT want to harm us, just as most in the west don't want to harm us. The ones causing the harm are not your average person, Christian, Muslim, whatever. It is rather the Kyriarchy. So if what I just said doesn't apply to you, don't make it about you. My comments about Pagan and Queer-Gendered folks like me, and our marginalization ONLY APPLIES to those that marginalize us.)

    Nevertheless I am skeptical about what you say because this happens A LOT in the west. I've yet to read about it on any of the Ubuntu planet posts.

    Mackenzie said "Blaming the victim for someone choosing to be a jerk is putting the blame in the wrong place."

    Right. And the victim is those that are murdered because someone burned a book. The book burner is not the murderer, they are merely a book burner. Rather the murderer is the murderer and blaming the actual victim, or the book burner for their murder instead of the murder is the worst kind of marginalization.

    Note: that doesn't make the book burner not an arse, it just makes them not a murderer.

    Sbjaved said "it is good to see some one non-islamic speaking for moderate muslims. most muslims are not soulless terrorists."

    Agreed.

    "we respect everyone."

    Some do some don't. I know that religious works of persons like me (Pagans) have been burned throughout the centuries by Muslims. We're likely not to see a peep from folks about that because the world is controlled by monotheists and though you will fight each other, generally historically monotheists have willingly set aside their differences to eliminate the "pagan problem".

  58. Aaron using Google Chrome 6.0.472.55 on Windows XP | September 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    @Aoirthoir An Broc- There's persecution of atheists? Are atheists being treated differently than non-atheists? Is there prejudice towards atheists that warrants raising awareness for equal treatment of atheism? If so, I'm unaware of these events.

  59. ThaddeusQ using Firefox 3.6.8 on Windows 7 | September 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I've wished those who comment about this pastor would also post how they feel about the Mosque near Ground Zero issue. I'm for this man expressing his right to free speech. I'm also for the Muslim faith being able to build a Mosque near Ground Zero. I don't believe either one should happen, but, I don't feel it's my job to tell either Faith that they shouldn't do it.

  60. josh using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on GNU/Linux | September 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Yay words of Jesus in the open source community, I love it!

    Anyway Jesus loves everyone, even the lost and those who commit murders (Sep. 11) attackers. Burning something to try and cause disunity is against what Jesus would do. How is it in love?

  61. Bbh using WebKit 531.21.10 on Mac OS | September 9, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    When the last stone from the last church crushes the last reverend/ priest/etc. We will finally enter into a age of enlightenment.

  62. Bbh using WebKit 531.21.10 on Mac OS | September 9, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    When the last stone from the last church crushes the last reverend/ priest/etc. We will finally enter into a age of enlightenment.

  63. Aoirthoir An Broc using Google Chrome 5.0.375.125 on GNU/Linux | September 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Aaron said "@Aoirthoir An Broc- There’s persecution of atheists? Are atheists being treated differently than non-atheists? Is there prejudice towards atheists that warrants raising awareness for equal treatment of atheism? If so, I’m unaware of these events."

    First let me clarify in case I didn't say it enough half a dozen times above. I am a *pagan*. I am a *theist*. I am a *poly*-theist. The treatment I was speaking about was specifically about mono-theists treatment of polytheists/Pagans.

    However, regarding your statement about persecution of atheists, ABSOLUTELY it exists. In SOME nations, being an atheist can get you KILLED. In these United States, being an atheist CAN AND WILL get you marginalized in all sorts of manners. Atheists have had their children taken from them, been denied health care, receive unequal treatment in schools and the courts and to this day in most places in these United States are forbidden by law to run for elected office. These are just a few of the ways atheists are marginalized in the west. (Not to mention the marginalization of pagans and other polytheists).

    Events like the nonsense of this preacher who is going to burn a Quran are newsworthy because they involve monotheists on all sides of the issue. Should it really come as any surprise that nations (and the world) which are controlled mostly by monotheists are hardly going to see exposure of the marginalization of polytheists and atheists? After all we don't hardly exist. The fact that you're unaware of unequal treatment of atheists demonstrates this.

    Thaddeus, regarding the Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero my paradigm is that persons should adhere to their own paradigm (morals). On Draw Muhammed Day I was told by Muslims and others that I was an Islamphobe because I made a drawing and said specifically "This is NOT Muhammed". I was told by every Muslim I spoke to that though I had freedom, I also had the responsibility to not hurt other's feelings and thus should not participate in this event. So that being the Paradigm of many (not all) Muslims, shouldn't all of those Muslims who said that (to me and others) be opposed to building said Center (it's not really a Mosque only...) because they have been informed it hurts people's feelings?

    But the facts are that this not hurting people's feelings in every single case only goes to not hurting "our" feelings. When I say not hurting our feelings, I mean not Muslims, but specifically that every group wants to not be offended, but just about no group really tries not to offend others when they've been told by said others that their actions are offensive. This isn't a Muslim issue, it is a human issue. We all act the same but we would like to pretend we don't.

    "When the last stone"

    Uh huh, says a Mac user *wink*.

  64. someone using Galeon 2.0.7 on Debian GNU/Linux 64 bits | September 10, 2010 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Please burn these books:

    New Testament
    Old Testament
    Koran
    Tora
    Talmud
    Upanishads
    Veda
    Book of Mormon
    The Origin of Species
    The Scientology
    Stupid hippy new age books

  65. Muhammad Negm using Google Chrome 7.0.517.0 on GNU/Linux | September 10, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    assalamalykomthe only problem as a Muslim that i consider the bible and Torah as holy books and the words of god"whatever happened to the text from changing " it's a holy book and the word of god as well.
    so we can't pay him back if he did burnt the Quran :@

  66. Meneer R using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | September 10, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    It seems that the further away from the promised land you get, the more people pervert the teachings.

    I'm from Holland and this is not normally seen as a very Christian nation. Not that we don't have christians, or that we even have relatively less christians.

    It's just that our christians tend to actually be christians. Religion is something personal for them, something you have to explicitely ask about.

    They use religion to guide them in their choices. They use to judge _themselves_.
    Not others.

    Any moment somebody says something in the line of 'god hates XX' .. they are taking the lord's name in vain.
    Technically.

    I really feel that many, thnkfully not all, American christians, use religion in way that reminds me more of dick-measuring that anything else. "I'm the better christian than you".. That whole line of thinking can't possibly be part of any religion I know.

    Perhaps this has something to do with the 'competitive nature' of the american culture?
    That you even use religion as a scale? Trying to be beat other at being more religious.

    I wonder how many of you realize just how ironic that is.

  67. Meneer R using Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | September 10, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    >I’m just curious how many times you’ve read the bible. I’m not judging you or anything you have done. I’m just curious after following your posts over the past month or so. I remember you had mentioned previously about reading the Quran 4 times.

    "Im not judging you" .. i'm pretty sure, that exactly what you are doing.
    Why not try to use religion to judge yourself? Rather than others?

    If you want to experience more of the thrill of competition, maybe sport is a better idea than perverting religion?

  68. Roshan using Firefox 3.6.9 on Ubuntu 64 bits | September 11, 2010 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    Aaron, just wanted to mention that I appreciate your posts on Planet Ubuntu. The PU feed has a nice mix of posts because of personal posts like those that you and others write.

    Those who specifically want Ubuntu news should simply subscribe to The Fridge.

{ 2 } Trackbacks

  1. World Wide News Flash | September 10, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Aaron Toponce : An Open Letter To Pastor Terry Jones...

    I found your entry interesting do I've added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)...

  2. Aaron Toponce : Ramadan – Week 4 | September 20, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    [...] not read any verses from the Qur’an, or he and his congregation would rethink their position. I blogged an Open Letter to the Pastor, urging him to rethink his position. If he doesn’t, I’ll be praying for heavy rain, to [...]

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