Florida's controversy-igniting pastor has held yet another Koran-burning ceremony outside his church. Pleas from the Pentagon to refrain from the act fell on deaf ears, as the pastor stuck to his guns and torched the holy Muslim text.
Powerless, local police stood by and watched the pastor and some 20 of his followers perform the burning of the Koran and a depiction of the prophet Mohammed, allegedly staged as a protest against the imprisonment of a Christian missionary in Iran. Jones was handed a fine from the fire department – but what most fear is that this incident will spark a huge scandal among the world’s Muslims.
Jones, a hotel manager turned missionary, already caused international outrage last year by adopting a zealous anti-Muslim stance and burning the Koran. In response, thousands of Muslim demonstrators poured into Afghanistan’s northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and stormed a UN compound, killing eight UN staff employees. The violence went on for days, and the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said the only person who could be blamed for the violence was the American pastor.
This time around, the Pentagon tried to cool the pastor’s burning passion, arguing that his actions would endanger US soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and possibly further damage the already-fragile US-Afghani relations. A similar recent event in war-torn Afghanistan sparked an unprecedented wave of anti-American protests and attacks on US and NATO military personnel.