Pakistani Christians shout slogans during a protest in Lahore to denounce the planned burning (AFP)
It is amazing to me that a country at war, and the US no less--which has still in place draconian laws allowing for "monitoring" citizens and "detaining" them; which still finds a need for the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and feels compelled to proceed with a military trial against a "enemy combattant" who was 15 at the time of his capture, and mostly likely (or definitely depending on the pre-doctored report) too severely injured from being shot in the back twice, and slumped in the wrong direction to perpetrate the alleged crime--cannot manage to contain one of its own citizens, Pastor Terry Jones, whose proposed actions are deemed by the General in Command (Petraeus), Secretary of State (Clinton), Secretary of Defense (Gates), Commander in Chief and President (Obama), UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-Moon), heads of state of national Allies (Afghanistan, India, Indonesia), and INTERPOL a high risk for harm to Americans, military and civilian, a setback to war efforts, and a risk to the civilian populations of allied nations.
But then I come from a country where at the first sign of truly violent ethno-political terrorism (not the longstanding bombs in mailboxes stuff) the Prime Minister imposed the War Measures Act (last in force decades prior). A Liberal and a leftist one at that (think Democrat on the left where some think Obama is), Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau had no reluctance in using wartime laws to ferret out the Marxist-Leninist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) and dispense with them.
At the time the action was controversial. Canada was not at war, and there was no clear understanding of the extent or power of the group, which was an internal Quebec separatist one. After setting off over 95 bombs in the period 1963-1970 their violence extended to the building of an arsenal, and the planned abduction of the American Consul. They did abduct, in separate incidents over days, the Minister of Labour and Vice-Premier for the Province of Quebec, Pierre Laporte, and British Trade Commissioner James Cross. While the 2 were held for ransom, and as leverage to gain media attention for the FLQ cause, Pierre Laporte was eventually killed, and James Cross eventually released.
During the time of the October Crisis Trudeau brought in the Canadian Army to back up the Montreal police. This in itself was controversial. An exchange with a reporter who questioned whether the Prime Minister would really do as he said led Trudeau to make the remark which best defines his personality and his politics:
CBC Archives: Just Watch Me, 1970
Think I'm overreacting? Just Read This:
Koran burning outrage builds as Muslims mark Eid
(AFP) – 3 hours ago
KABUL — The Afghan president said Friday a US pastor "should not even think" of burning the Koran at a provocative event marking 9/11, as Indonesia's leader said nothing less than world peace was at stake.
In a turbulent start to the festival of Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims worldwide mark the end of the Ramadan fasting month, radical Florida evangelist Terry Jones issued a heavily conditioned offer to call off his event.
"We have heard that in the US, a pastor has decided to insult Korans. Now although we have heard that they are not doing this, we tell them they should not even think of it," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.
"By burning the Koran they cannot harm it. The Koran is in the hearts and minds of one-and-a-half billion people. (But) insulting the Koran is an insult to nations," Karzai said in an Eid message.
The commander of US-led forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, the UN mission in Afghanistan and leading aid organisations have all said the burning will endanger the lives of Afghans and foreigners if it goes ahead.
Jones said on Thursday he was putting his event planned for Saturday -- the anniversary of the September 11 attacks -- on hold and would cancel it if a planned Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero in New York was relocated.
Thousands of Afghans marched through a small town northeast of Kabul on Thursday, chanting anti-US and anti-Christian slogans to protest against the Koran-burning plans.
There have also been several protests by Islamists in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, which has suffered years of extremist violence.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono lashed out anew against Jones and his tiny evangelical denomination, located in Gainesville, Florida, a day after calling on US President Barack Obama to intervene.
"This threatens peace and international security. This is something that endangers harmony among religious people," Yudhoyono said in a nationally televised address marking the end of Ramadan.
"I'm of course aware of the reported cancellation of the deplorable act by Terry Jones. However, none of us can be complacent until such a despicable idea is totally extinguished," he said.
"Therefore I continue to urge the government and people of the United States to ensure the prevention of such an incomprehensible, irrational and immoral act."
The imam leading the New York project has denied any quid-pro-quo deal with Jones to move the planned centre, prompting the Florida pastor to accuse him of acting in bad faith and threaten afresh to go ahead with the burning.
Yudhoyono had written to Obama to appeal for his personal intervention, saying that torching the Koran would cripple the US president's attempts to mend relations with the Muslim world.
Obama spent several years in Indonesia as a child after his mother married an Indonesian Muslim.
Concern is so high that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates put in a phone call to Jones to try to get him to change his mind, warning that the Koran burning would put US soldiers' lives at risk.
The State Department warned citizens of "the potential for anti-US demonstrations in many countries... some of which may turn violent", and global police agency Interpol predicted "tragic consequences".
The governments of Pakistan and India, which after Indonesia have the world's biggest Muslim populations and also suffer from communal violence, have added their voices to a chorus of global outrage against Jones.
Indian Muslims burn a US flag in Ahmedabad to protest the plan
The US already is at war; they already have wartime laws in place; why do they allow a previously obscure Florida Pastor to seriously jeopardize their war effort, and American lives?
Seriously, not a rhetorical question. Any ideas about why? Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of action are always curtailed in times of war, and have been already in the US. So why is Pastor Jones allowed to carry on so? Why go along with an action which is deliberately provocative, combining 3 symbols--the Holy Book of Islam, the 2nd greatest celebration of the Islamic faith, Eid Al-Fitr, and terrorism--joined in an emotional, dramatic display of contempt, and allow Pastor Jones a public and publicized burning of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11? Why arm the other side in a War on Terror, and with propaganda material so good it would have been hard to dream up, except for a Pastor with a truly inflated sense of self-importance and a mastery of how to manipulate the media?
Canada, "America's Hat", is shaking its head in disbelief. At least this Canadian is.
Yet Another Ignominious Nobody Finds Fame Through Islamophobia: Burning A Holy Book in Commemoration of 9/11