Compass Direct News, www.compassdirect.org, has just reported reactions of Christians from across the Middle East to the latest announcements of plans to desecrate the Qur’an on Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 6 and 7). The announcements have sent a new wave of fear over Christians in Muslim countries before they have had time to recover from the last incident.
Only weeks ago a small church in Florida attracted world-wide attention by threatening to burn the Qur’ an. Randall Terry now plans to lead a series of copycat demonstrations in which protestors will tear out pages from the Qur’ an and encourage others to do the same.
Samia Sidhom, a Christian and managing editor of the Cairo-based newspaper Watani, told Compass Direct, “This message of hate antagonizes Muslims and promotes hatred. We are held guilty by association by extremist Muslims, even though the vast majority of Muslims will be able to dissociate between crazy American right-wingers and true followers of Jesus.”
Martin Accad, a Lebanese Christian and director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, said, “These are not acts committed by followers of a Jesus ethic. They will affect the image of Christianity as badly as the destruction of the World Trade Center affected the image of Islam.”
Compass also reported that “after he staged a Quran-tearing event on Sept. 11 Terry released a statement expressing ‘great sadness’ over the deaths that followed while denying that it was right for Muslims to react violently to such protests.” Terry claims that he is trying to expose Islam’s violent character, as if Islamic militants around the world needed help.
Clearly, they don’t. But it’s not enough to shake our heads over the needlessly provocative actions of Terry and others. Is there anything positive we can do?
Look again at my post from September 10, “Burning the Qur’ an would burn needed bridges to Muslims,” for one idea on how to be a light in darkness.