Afghan Protests against Qur’an-Burning cause Deaths

Some 2000 protesters came out in Qandahar on Friday, meeting police fire that left 9 dead and 73 injured, when they protested the burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, by a crazed American pastor. In the northern city of Mazar-i Sharif, thousands demonstrated, and a mob attacked a UN outpost and killed 5, with the same number of protesters being killed by police.

I think Afghan intellectuals and leaders know that Terry Jones is a minor nut job. But this issue allows some of them to organize to protest the over 100,000 US troops in their country, which is really what they are objecting to.

The decision of the Obama administration to do wide-ranging counter-insurgency rather than targeted counter-terrorism in Afghanistan has left that country full of frustrations with the US heavy footprint.

Aljazeera English has video:

29 Responses

  1. Never really understand why you (and others) refer to Kandahar as ‘Qandahar’. It is not spelt that way locally (nor was it in classical source texts); rather, the spelling is an accretion that came from Arabic-language usage.

  2. These protests make no sense whatsoever, and begs the question on whether or not this is the work of a rent-a-mob that easily gathers pace by the unwitting. Rioting in your own town, against businesses of your own people, and killing people entirely unrelated to the actions of a deranged pastor makes no sense in even the most deluded of extremist’s rule book. Can’t help but wonder how much of the insanity in the Muslim lands are being carefully orchestrated by a third force (namely the US)?

    • Surely you have heard of such nonsensical attacks before. They are rooted in religion and illiteracy. Pardon my French, no matter the sky blue berets, the foreigners all look alike, and one way or the other their function is to control the denizens…given afghan history, a real unlikely job.

      Perhaps Terry jones should be tried for accessory to murder.

      • Terry Jones has

        (1) given aid and comfort to the enemy

        (all those who wish a holy war between Christianity and Islam have an excuse due to his actions, which were broadcast by him over the internet)

        (2) endangered the lives of American troops, Americans and their allies

        (the deaths at the UN station are a direct consequence of his actions, as the assault the next day on a US base by suicide bombers. . .he has no right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater)

        Terry Jones fits the bill. He should be tried for treason, detained at either a superprison or Guantanamo. He must learn there are consequences for the choices he makes, as there are for all of us.

  3. Does this perhaps represent the spread of mass protests, albeit with a violent edge, from the Mid-east proper to Afghanistan?

    If so, we could have the US more-or-less supporting peaceful transitions in Tunisia and Egypt, actively supporting violent transition in Libya, covertly supporting violent suppression in the Saudi area, and itself the object of mass civil pressure in Afghanistan (and therefore itself acting to suppress?). Yikes.

  4. Will somebody ask that Ass hole Pastor what his action has cost the innocents. Will Peter King hold a hearing on Islamophobe Radicals too?

  5. I’ve supported the Afghan/AfPak War all along, but this wave of uprisings across the Greater Middle East changes everything. We cannot afford to be on the wrong side of history here, like we were on the wrong side of history when the masses rose up against the oligarchs in 20th century Central America, or we’ll end up both abandoning our values and handing those movements to our enemies in a gift-wrapped basket, just like we did during the Cold War

    We cannot afford to be the targets of “Days of Rage” in Afghanistan.

  6. Who will say that the Mainstream Media are to be held responsible in no small part for this disaster ? Why did they allocate so much time and attention to this even-not-useful idiot ? Father Jones (unrelated to Mother Jones, I hope) lead a cohort of about twenty-five people a year ago. I am afraid his affiliates’ number is growing.
    If you cannot silence him (freedom of speech), silence yourselves, and let him “die” from coverage attrition.

    • In live in Gainesville FL, and our paper, the Gainesville Sun, admitted in their reporting Saturday that they chose not to cover Jone’s event in March when he burned the Koran. They claimed it was his own web streaming of the event that people saw. We had hundreds of people actively oppose Jones and his little church/furniture store last September, and a broad community condemnation of his threatened act. This time we knew nothing, but even if we had; what could we have done? Our protests would have been the impetus for the press coverage Jones craves

      That he is still in our town was news to me. That he did what he did is a complete embarrassment to us all in Gainesville. But it is the US foreign policy that we should all be embarrassed by.

    • The mainstream media, in fact, stopped giving this guy coverage after his stunt last year, in the hope that word of his antics wouldn’t reach those Middle Eastern extremists willing to use him as a pretext for their actions.

      Once again, the extremist Terry Jones and the extremists in Al-Qaeda are acting as each other’s best friends, to the detriment of every one else.

    • as i understand, mainstream media–which introduced him to the world last fall–actually had nothing to do with broadcasting the incident when it occurred.

      Jones ‘trial’ of the Koran took place on March 20th, and was broadcast via the internet from his church’s (cult’s) website at http://dov­ , according to Talk2Actio­n:

      “The Book Burning and The Massacre”

      link to www­.talk2acti­

      this is how word of it spread from Florida to Afghanista­n.

      the actual burning has been posted to YouTube; however, it appeared that someone had taken down Jones’ internet site. it’s my own hope that it was done by 4chan or Anonymous, since the US government didn’t have the foresight or sense to do so.

      as of this moment, Jones’ site is up again; however, i don’t know if videos of the ‘trial’ are still there.

  7. Extreme forms of Islamophobia like Quran burning are marginal in the US. But “mild” Islamophobia from Fox News is mainstream, Glenn Beck is a top dog of the US media. And those who oppose Juan Williams get fired.

    All this means that any civilized opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is broken, and brand new war in Libya is even fashionable. So, there is little surprise that the fate of these conflicts is decided on the battle fields, not in the pointless discussions.

  8. Terry Jones is a sick, selfish,vicious scumbag. Just like banshee parasites from Westboro Baptist Church there is nothing in his words or actions that contain even a hint of christian ethic. He cares nothing for those harmed by his antics and probably even enjoys it.

  9. I agree that Terry jones is a crazed American , but he is not a pastor .
    He leads a cult which is not affiliated with any Christian denomination .
    Indeed , he has condemned ” the church ” for not sharing his beliefs ,
    The right to freedom of speech and expression does not include conspiracy to provoke riots .
    He knew he was engaged in a deliberate provocation , and now people have died .
    I think charges are called for , and a judge should decide if his secure custody should be in a prison or a mental hospital .

    • I think the murderous war of the west has much more to do with this tragedy than some nutjob preacher in Fla. Blame the people who make the conditions that lead to this kind of violence (western governments).

  10. As a muslim, this tragedy is also embarassing personally as now muslims will have to explain ourselves for these hideous actions.

    I am confused about the reporting of these events in the major media outlets though. Were the protests really in regard to the quran burning? I assumed they were in response to the pictures released by Der Spiegel and Rolling Stone of the US soldiers posing with afghan civilians slain in cold blood, not to mention the ongoing civilian casualties from errant NATO strikes.

    Here in the US i did not even know about the quran burning that happened a week ago until today. How did they already know in Afghanistan, where 90% of the population in one province doesn’t even know what 9/11 is. Either way it’s a terrible act, but in the other case this reaction shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

  11. This is a really tragic situation. In America if a white guy called a black guy a nigger I do not think that the black guy would be justified in responding to that insult with physical violence. But if that was the defense I would take that as a mitigating circumstance. I also could understand that in other cultures in would actually be a defense. In Germany it is my understanding based on training that I recieved about 10 years ago the black would be legally allowed to slap the white person with an open hand and if a fight then followed the white guy would be held to be responsible. This church in Florida has really crossed a red line in the sand for many Muslims and they clearly did it on purpose. Although I would not support any state action against these christian bigots I do think that a civil trial in which the indirect victims of this action sued the church for wrongful death would be warrented. These deaths were clearly a forseeable result of such activity and the church carried out this action in wanton disreguard for the likely consequences. Now if the church had carried out a less inflamitory activity like publishing a phamlet about why they beleived the Koran are not binding rules of human behavior and people in any Muslim country had rioted over that then a civil law suit would clearly be an unwarranted unreasonable action.
    I can clearly say this becasue I am a warranted reasonable person and a civli law suit under those cirmunstances would seem like harrasment to me. That is logic that can not be logically argued with.

  12. Who’s saying that the proptests and the kllings were related? The Afghan protests were aginst military occupation, with the recently released details of the American Kill Team, and the constant bombing campaigns on Afghanis, together wit the perceived support of Terry Jones’ actions. Protests were held in numerous cities and they were peaceful. Leave it to the media to connect the Afghani protests against occupation and killings to Terry Jones and a group not part of the protests killing some people. Disgraceful.

  13. By the way when I say that a civil suit is warranted I do not mean that the plantiffs should neccissarily win. Instigating a riot is something that should be thought about very carefully. I am under the impression that in a civil trial a jury has to determine on which side the preponderance of evidence lays and does not have to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I am also under the impression that a jury has to reach a unamious verdict. If this is so I think that a defense strategy of jury nullification is also reasonable. By that I mean that a person has a right to instigate a riot because people have the right to say what they believe is the truth reguardless of how other people will react to what is saud.
    Damn this is tragic because a society seems to be screwed no matter what position it takes.
    Goes back to what I have said before some things just have to be dealt with by creating a mature culture, with customs not neccissarily laws, to prevent unneccessary unwanted problems.
    If this church really thinks that it is neccessary to have a right to burn the Koran it should be willing to defend that right with their money in a court of law. I have always thought that flag burning was a right but I never figured that if I or some else burned the flag it would cause American conservatives to riot. I have figured that it could cause a fight. And in that case I would hold conservatives entirely responsible for the consequences of that fight because in most of the US are tradition is that a person is not justified in using violence to respond to a non violent provocation. If conservatives are enraged by seeing someone burn the US flag they can do something that they think would enrage the flag burner like burning the US Constitution. Hhahahahahahahahahaha. Are conservatives smart enought to understand why I am laughing at them?

  14. he was warned. and warned. including by the Secretary of Defense. but he did it anyway.

    according to NPR, the Kandahar attack included a team of four suicide bombers attempting to attack ‘a large US military installation’.

    link to

    unlike Julian Assange, we now have proof that Terry Jones has endangered the lives of our troops and our allies. He should be sent to Guantanamo forthwith; barring that, to Afghanistan.

  15. ah the joys of Conservative Religious Nuts, whether Muslim or Christian!!!

    i often wonder who has the most theocratic state, the Afghanis, Iranians or the Americans.

    This American Pastor nut needs to be held accountable for this “crime” against the UN victims. But this sells in the media, and that is what America is all about.

    Profit, Profit, Profit. Why would anyone be surprised?

  16. Jones is a deplorable person, a whack job. But, why are these ‘protesters’ killing people? Innocent people? Whose fault is that? Not Jones’s, as reprehensible as he is. I may be old-fashioned, but I think that the killer holds the lion’s share of the responsibility for his crime, not some kook 5000 miles away. Plenty of people deal with deep insults like this without killing people – in fact, without any violence at all. With reason and intelligence – which some of these protesters seem to lack completely.

    • “It was intended to stir the pot; if you don’t shake the boat, everyone will stay in their complacenc­y,” Mr. Jones said in an interview at his office in the Dove World Outreach Center.

      link to

      • So, if I do something that is deeply insulting to you, it is MY fault if you lose it and go on a killing spree? That doesn’t make any sense.

  17. I think it is crazy to call for a trial against somebody for burning a book. More so a book about esoteric things, be it the Bible, the Koran or the Agatean holy book of gnomes. We can not surrender reason to superstition.

    That said, I think the afghan riots are motivated by occupation, constant humiliations by foreign invaders, kill-teams, constant carnages by US and NATO bombs and so on. These are not the first nor will be the last riots in Afghanistan against foreign occupation. I don’t know if the koran burning in Florida has been an extra factor this time, but in any case it is the less important aspect of the whole affair, and the one we should be less concerned with. It is not criminal to burn a book, but it is criminal to militarily occupy other people’s land and to kill and humilliate local residents.

  18. An Afghani was quoted as saying he sees no difference in US troops and the Florida minister. Beetrayus should have resigned long ago were he a patriot and not a careerist and drone bombing overlord.

  19. I think the point that has been sorely missed is that there was an instigating point that pushed the mob over the edge in a very calm city which caused this group to do the unthinkable. That instigating point was when some people decided to open fire on the “peaceful” crowd and kill 4-10 protestors and injuring scores more. Some have said it was the UN guards, some say it was the police, others say it was the “instigators”. Given my own experience in Afghanistan and in Mazar specifically, I do not think the protestors would have gone to such lengths to attack the UNAMA workers if they hadn’t been so provoked and their own lives threatened. In any case it is a sad day that this happened in the history of Afghanistan and such shameful acts of killing innocents in any situation have no excuses.

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