I’m not a Muslim, so I don’t believe in the Quran. However, I wouldn’t burn it out of respect for those who follow Islam. The act by Terry Jones was not in good taste and he probably could have expressed his feelings toward this book in a more positive and constructive way than by burning it and having the video posted online. The public now has no idea what his grievance was about or why he burned it. All they know (and this is partly the media’s fault) is about the impact it has had on the Muslim community and the violence it supposedly stirred up. I say “supposedly” for a reason that I will later explain.

First, let me point out something people overlook: Jones did this on March 20. No attention was brought to this incident until some soldiers and U.N. workers died in Afghanistan. I can’t help but think that if the news media had not made this worldwide news, the reaction would not have been as severe. Frankly, I’m surprised that someone burning this book isn’t daily practice, what with all the extremists and chants of “jihad” against everybody who does not share their beliefs. A lot of the family members of Sept. 11 victims probably curse this book (along with the extremist nut cases who use it as a tool to justify their actions) every minute of the day.

Second, the United States of America is a free nation (for now) where people are even permitted to burn a U.S. flag. Yet no one has anything to say about that.

Burning a flag is something else I wouldn’t I do, but it begs the question: Why all the shock from everyone in the world (to include our country) at the burning of the Quran? Does the Quran warrant more respect than our flag? I guess nowadays maybe it does.

What I find particularly infuriating is some nations’ insistence on U.S. authorities punishing Jones. Now, this may seem shocking to some people but we as the U.S. neither punish our citizens for doing this nor do we like being bullied into doing so. By the way, when is Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia, or Iran going to punish its citizens who have committed atrocities against not just objects but human beings? When will these same people stop calling us infidels? Are they ever going to stop torturing and killing Christians?

You know, respect for one’s beliefs and customs is a two-way street. Well, at least it’s supposed to be.

Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Gordon (retired)

Camp Liberty, Iraq

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