“Rev.” Jones and other Michigan news


We all wish he would go away but psychosis inflates people’s sense of themselves and they just don’t get the hint that no body really wants them around.  Such is the case with media hound, Terry Jones.  You remember him, the guy who wanted to burn Qurans last summer in Florida to protest the building of the  Park51 masjid in New York city, who later reneged on that threat after intervention by some folks down in Florida, Jones’ home state…only to burn a Quran early this year.  Well he’s back and this time he wants to protest radical Islam in front of a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan of all places.  You can read about Jones’ latest escapade on the pages of that excellent blog, Loonwatch here.

Jones is certifiable and I really don’t care what he does, but what I do care about is the reaction the Muslims have to this sad fellow who really should be committed for his sake as well as ours.  For too long, the Muslim community in America has withered under the criticism directed towards them post 911, almost accepting the blame for one of the largest atrocities to happen to our Nation that they, Muslim Americans had nothing to do with.   Instead of asserting their claim to this country in much the same way as others who’ve populated America’s shores, Muslims have been reeling from claims they sponsor or are responsible for terrorism, or harbor terrorists or any of a number of racist and bigoted comments America is known for making towards those who are different than the one spewing the offensive venom and invective.

What Muslims need to do in the face of Jones’ latest threat is to invite him to Michigan, politely disagree with his premise that they are any more responsible for acts of terrorism than he himself is, acknowledge his citizenship rights to free speech and the right to keep and bear arms, thank him for his pledge to honor the citizenship rights of good peaceful Muslims (or whatever paternalistic inane phrase he wants to use to take a side swipe at the Islamic community of America) and assure him that they too will stand outside the mosque in Dearborn and any and every able bodied Muslim adult, male of female, who is legally capable of purchasing and carrying a firearm will assert their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms and to free speech; that they too will respect the rights of people to disagree with them in their act of protest but they have just as much right to that protest as Jones himself.  Should he want to enter their place of worship or talk to one of the worshippers of the mosque he is most welcomed, but that he will be escorted by people who are just as heavily armed as he and who believe as much as he that as American citizens they have nothing to fear from the assertion that their rights are as important to them as his.  They should proclaim that gone are the days when they will answer any more supercilious claims of bigotry and hatred that are thrown in their direction and that rather they proclaim proudly they have just as much right to the rights Jones hold dear for himself as every other American.  In that respect they are brothers with Jones, citizens of the same Republic, but they do not share nor indulge in the demagoguery with him and other Islamophobes that are for now so prevalent, nor do they choose to denigrate  any person who lays claim to the rights of citizenship America gives to those who live legally on her shores.  That is the very least the Muslim citizens of Dearborn should do in the face of the Jones media circus that is headed their way.  Anything less than that is a waste of the US Constitution.

And speaking of the US Constitution, have you heard this news?  It appears Michigan State police are swiping phone data from anyone they stop for a traffic violation!  If you are pulled over in the state of Michigan police for any traffic related offense you will be asked to surrender your cell phone and a device, Cellebrite UFED can then extract a wide variety of data from it including contacts, text messages, deleted text messages, call history, pictures, audio and video recordings, phone details including the phone number and complete memory file dumps on some handsets.  Sounds mighty Orwellian to me.  I’m glad to see the ACLU is on the case claiming such tactics are in violation of 4th amendment protections against unreasonable searches, and  no doubt many an opponent of the Obama administration is secretly happy too that organizations like the ACLU in a time when their ardent political foe is in power are available to fight the encroachment of government on our rights.  Let’s not forget that under the Bush administration the government was given broad powers to conduct searches even without warrants from judges if they thought a criminal act was imminent.  What’s happening in Michigan is even where there is no probable cause law enforcement is implying that if you have nothing to hide you should surrender your phone to them to have all its data transferred in a matter of seconds.  Unless you are black, which means the police will stop you whatever you do or don’t do, my advice is dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s when you’re driving out and about in the state of Michigan if you don’t want your cell phone data in the hands of law enforcement officials.

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A Smooth Comeback!


In response to Pastor Terry Jones’ International Burn a Koran day, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has decided to post the advertisement below in Jones’ city local newspapers.  MRFF is acting because of concern members of the US military have expressed about the impact Jones’ book burning will have on the lives of military personnel posted in Muslim countries.  It wasn’t but a few short years ago that any act considered endangering the lives of US servicemen was considered treasonous, but today racist elements in American society have managed to turn that notion on its head and instead say any act which doesn’t outrage Muslim sensitivities is appeasement, no matter how provocative the act may be or how it might endanger lives.  MRFF’s response is the kind that will defeat the likes of Jones and the rest of the pilers on who’ve got on board with this xenophobic, Islamophobic notion of either denying Muslims their citizenship rights or provoking them. ‘Attaboy’ to MRFF!

A Christian Cleric’s Response to a Christian’s burning of Qurans


Hat tip


Respected Pastor Terry Jones,

I have read your worldwide call for the burning of the Quran on this coming 11th of September. Your message stated that you are a pastor of one of the churches in Florida in the United States of America.

As an Arab Catholic priest from Damascus (Syria), I wondered what would be your objective, as an American pastor, for such a call?

I wondered, and I ask you: What are your responsibilities as a pastor?
Are you really a Christian pastor serving God in a church in America?
Or are you merely a layperson from America who is pretending to be in the service of Christ?

Did you give in to your nationalism (Americanism) rather than giving in to your Christianity?

What is your aim with that call?

(Do you wish) to further fuel hatred among people? Is that consistent with (the teachings of) Jesus, whom you represent in your eyes and the eyes of many others?
Tell me, is there in the character of Jesus, in his words or in his actions anything that would remotely justify even a hint of promoting disdain and hatred among people?

Have you forgotten that Jesus was completely for love, forgiveness and peace? Have you forgotten what he taught us when he told his disciples and the people after them to tell God the heavenly Father of all to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who wrong us”? You overlooked or forgot that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and being subjected to insults and vile words, he raised his voice, saying, “O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who, then, do you represent or who are you trying to guide with this call of yours?

Isn’t it enough what has been happening since September 11, 2001: the killing, destruction, displacement and starvation of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, from Palestine – the land of Jesus – by your leaders in particular, headed by George Bush, who was claiming direct communication with God?

Wouldn’t you agree with me that with your call (to burn the Quran), you have demonstrated that you are really unfamiliar with Jesus and that you desperately need to re-discover him again to be a true Christian pastor who calls, like Jesus, for the comprehensive love and full respect for every human being and a commitment to the full and wonderful teachings that call upon all believers, without exception, to always stand beside the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged?

My brother Pastor Terry Jones. Can you tell me, honestly, if Jesus came today, whose side would he take?

Is it the side of the powerful and arrogant oppressors who dominate the world and endlessly plunder its resources, violate its laws and international treaties, and kill people in their countries and destroy houses on top of their owners and turn them into refugees across the earth? Or is it the side of those who are oppressed, the disadvantaged, hungry, and homeless?

Did you forget what Jesus himself would say on the Day of Judgment to each person in front of him: “All that you did to one of my brothers, you actually did to me”?

I wonder if you have overlooked or forgotten that Jesus did not point in that speech on the Day of Judgment to the religion of any of those mistreated persons. He only referred to everyone as belonging to the human race and to his standing with the deprived, the weak, and the oppressed in this world.

So how could you as an American Christian pastor stand with the oppressors from your country whose injustice has spread around the world?

Aren’t you afraid of when you appear before Jesus on Judgment Day and you are burdened with a heavy conscience, like your leaders who are blinded by the gods of power, money, control and greed?

My brother Pastor Terry. Do you think I am being unfair if I conclude that your hatred toward Islam is what drove you to such a reprehensible call for the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Quran?

But let me ask you, as a Syrian Roman Catholic priest: What do you know about Islam? It appears to me from your call to burn the Quran that you are ignorant of Christ and Christianity, and that makes me believe that you are also ignorant of Islam and Muslims.

Believe me, it is not my intention to indict you and it is not my intention to engage with you in a religious debate about Christianity or Islam. However, after I prayed for a long time, let me suggest for both of us to make a joint effort on this coming September 11.

You might ask me what effort can we do jointly when you are in Florida and I’m in Damascus?

He is my suggestion.

I invite you to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people.

This is what people need rather than the un-Christian call to fuel the sentiment of hatred and division.

Come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers.

Come to Damascus to witness and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind or expectation of all the churches of the West or their bishops, pastors, and clergymen.

Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return.

My brother Pastor Terry.

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus.

I ask God to make our anticipated meeting the beginning of a long and interesting path that we undertake together with other brothers in Damascus and around the world.

How desperate is the need of our world for bright roads.

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

Father Elias Zahlawi