The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Koran burning reflects intolerance

 
Growing up in Mississippi, attending church every Sunday was ingrained into the routine of my family and me. Believing in the Holy Trinity of Christianity was something I never hesitated about, and quite honestly, for years, I believed the choice most people were faced with were different denominations, not religions.
My first brush with another religion was when I was in fifth grade, and it was because of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11. Let’s face it, it was an awful way for any religion to be introduced to a 10-year-old child, and to this day, it’s hard for me to separate the religion of Islam from the image of the Twin Towers being destroyed in New York.
In my mind, certain stereotypes are hard to overcome. When I think of Muslims, I think of American- and Christian- hating people. Falling into both of those categories, it hurts my feelings and makes me mad.
However, I have enough sense to know not all stereotypes are apply to everyone, and I try not to act on that alone. So while I was reading several articles about Terry Jones, a Christian pastor, organizing a protest against Islam by burning copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11, it was easy to see he had fallen into the trap of stereotypes. His twisted way of thinking has reached international headlines.
Many Muslims in the Middle East are rallying against what this small group of people is saying. Islam was not the reason for that awful day.
Somewhere, someone manipulated a small group of people to believe that hijacking four planes and destroying thousands of lives was a good thing, and that is exactly what Jones is doing with his so-called Burn a Koran Day.
I’m not suggesting that we should all just believe in everything else, but I think it’s time to realize that each group deserves a little respect and neither is like the outspoken extremist that the media brings to light. Terry Jones is one man leading a select few to disturb and distress a community.
What’s the difference between his group and Al-Qaida? He may not be planning an event to hurt any one physically, but I doubt Osama Bin Laden just woke up one day and decided to orchestrate a tragedy destroying countless lives.
It’s a slippery slope from one to the other, especially with threats against the U.S. troops in the Middle East coming to light. At some point, Jones and his followers should start to think about the safety of their fellow Americans.
We all know some one who is either serving in the military or a veteran. They lay down their lives to protect our freedom of expression every time they go out to fight.
Jones could give up his freedom of expression for just this one even to protect our soldiers’ lives.
I don’t want Jones to be a representative of my religion any more than Muslims want bin Laden to be a representative of theirs.
At some point we have to realize we live in this world together, and as technology grows, the earth shrinks. We need to look beyond the violence and look for peace.
Those Christians out there like Terry Jones need to remember Luke 10:27: “Jesus answered, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.'”
If one of the major tenants of Jones’ religion is to treat others fairly, then he is breaking one of his very own beliefs.
This type of hypocrisy shouldn’t be taken quietly.
Julia Pendley is the news editor of The Reflector. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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Koran burning reflects intolerance