The Dove World Outreach Center, a church in Gainesville, Fla., will mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by hosting an "International Burn a Koran Day" event on church property. A Facebook page created for the upcoming event proclaims that the burning of Islam's holy book will be done "in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the Devil!"
In your opinion is it appropriate for a religious institution to mark the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in this way? How would you call on your respective congregants to observe the day?
It is wrong to regard any religion as a true faith if it professes hatred and bigotry towards another religion and its followers.
The spirit of Islam, Christianity and Judaism share one critical aspect of their faith, which is love.
Hearts are mended when love embraces and brings comfort to those who are hurting.
Every American, American Muslims included, felt the deep anguish of 9/11. We all need mending.
At our mosque, we annually commemorate 9/11 by dedicating prayers to the victims and their families. We encourage others to share with us our prayers for peace and love to all.
Imam Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini
Islamic Educational Center of Orange County
Archbishop Tutu said that "without forgiveness of evil, there can be no future." Judaism counters that "without hatred of evil, without refusal to forgive evil-doers, there can be no future."
Each Sept. 11 should remind us that true evil abounds and metastasizes in our world. The Torah views non-resistance to evil as an unconscionable moral wrong. It is our duty to resist evil by force, if necessary, to protect innocent victims and ourselves. From the Biblical perspective, it is morally preferable to kill an aggressor rather than allow an aggressor to perpetrate violence against us.
Evil is a reality, freedom is in peril, and we are locked in a war with annihilationist jihad that will determine our fate for generations. Many Christians, like Tutu, believe "love conquers all." Well, love does not conquer evil. I would tell my congregants that forgiving the unforgiveable mocks the dead and compromises our defenses.
Rabbi Mark S. Miller
Temple Bat Yahm
When people are afraid of others, they tend to objectify and dehumanize. Their fear turns into anger and they justify their hatred by categorically calling all of a certain group evil. This always happens in times of war, and — while it is a very human reaction — it only serves to escalate and inflame prejudice. How ironic that the group in Gainesville is using the same tactic that probably created the terrorists who, blinded by their prejudice and inflamed by their rhetoric, took such a reprehensible action. Not everyone blames Islam for this tragedy. I can't think of a more offensive way to memorialize this calamity. Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.
Dr. Jim Turrell