After the controversy caused by Florida Pastor Terry Jones threatening to burn the Koran on September 11, Jones vowed not to do it, “not now, not ever.” But unnoticed at the time by the media, Jones did just that on March 20, after holding a “mock trial” for the holy book.
After listening to “evidence” and arguments from both sides, the jury pronounced the Koran “guilty” of five “crimes against humanity,” including the promotion of terrorist acts and “the death, rape and torture of people worldwide whose only crime is not being of the Islamic faith.”
The Koran’s “punishment” was determined by the results of an online poll. Besides burning, the options had included shredding, drowning and facing a firing squad. Mr. Jones, an evangelical pastor, announced that voters had chosen to set fire to the book, according to a video of the proceedings.
Although this was ignored in the United States, that was not the case in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where angry protesters looked for a symbol of the West upon which to take revenge, and did so at a United Nations building.
Stirred up by a trio of angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.
The dead included at least seven United Nations workers — four Nepalese guards and three Europeans from Romania, Sweden and Norway — according to United Nations officials in New York. One was a woman. Early reports, later denied by Afghan officials, said that at least two of the dead had been beheaded. Five Afghans were also killed.
Jones’ explained his motives with twisted rhetoric.
“It is not that we burn the Koran with some type of vindictive motive,” Mr. Jones said. “We do not even burn it with great pleasure or any pleasure at all. We burn it because we feel a deep obligation to stay with the court system of America. The court system of America does not allow convicted criminals to go free. And that is why we feel obligated to do this.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned Jones’ actions on Pakistani television.
Britain’s Channel 4 News has video of victims being carried from the scene.