What happened to “Love thy neighbor?â€

September 11.

For some in America, that date might have had little to no meaning before 2001.

Now, just saying 9/11 will evoke strong, raw emotion from anyone, whether they live in the U.S. or any of the other 54 foreign nations that lost citizens in the attacks.

Following the attacks, everyone — regardless of political beliefs, race, or gender — banded together. Solidarity across our nation was at an all-time high. You could go anywhere in the 50 states and see a red, white, and blue “We Will Never Forget” sticker on car windows, bumpers, or personal belongings.

But not all is right in the land that purports to be one of the most tolerant nations in the world.

In just over a week, we will have reached the ninth anniversary of 9/11.

Some will head to cemeteries and visit loved ones that perished in the attacks. Others will head to Ground Zero in New York. Still others will hold moments of silence.

But one man has decided to take the anniversary and turn it into something much more vile and hate-filled.

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., is planning a “Burn a Quran Day” on the 11th, despite the fact that the city has denied the church a fire permit.

While leaders of top Muslim organizations in the U.S. have condemned the attacks, violent hate crimes directed toward citizens of Middle Eastern descent have become extremely prevalent.

Sikh males, who usually wear turbans, were also targets of the hatred, if only for the fact that some Americans assume “turban” is synonymous “Muslim.”

Just four days after the attacks, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a man of Indian descent living in Arizona, was shot and killed by Frank Roque, who wanted revenge for 9/11 and had openly bragged about “taking out towel-heads.”

So even though the September 11 attacks were organized and perpetrated by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, known worldwide as extremist Islamist terrorists, innocent people who came here looking for the American dream suffered unjust racism.

Jones is no stranger to


During the last mayoral election in Gainesville, he posted “No Homo Mayor” signs on the lawn of openly gay candidate, and eventual winner, Craig Lowe. He posted signs claiming that Lowe would turn the city into “Homoville.”

It is clear that Jones’ moral compass is broken, and his warped sense of righteousness is hardly becoming of a man of Christ.

I attended a non-denominational church for the first 18 years of my life, where I learned more about respecting and understanding other religions, and less about how one religion is better than another.

I don’t practice Islam, but as I read the news report about this man who had supposedly given his life to Jesus Christ, it made me furious that someone like Jones could have influence over a few people, let alone a whole congregation.

Jones, the author of “Islam Is Of The Devil,” seems to think that the growth of Islam in America is a threat to the country’s future and needs to be stopped.

But despite his best efforts to “help” our country, he is actually going against Christian teachings, as well as what our Founding Fathers believed in.

Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the Quran in his personal book collection, consulting it when he decided to host the first presidential iftar, or breaking of the fast, during the month of Ramadan.

John Locke, a famous Christian philosopher who inspired many of the Founding Fathers, declared that the true Christian’s duty was to “practice charity, meekness, and goodwill in general toward all mankind, even to those that are not Christians.”

Going through with this despicable event will not only stir up hate and discrimination across the world, it will endanger American troops overseas, as well as any U.S. citizen who ventures outside of the country.

Military officials have spoken up this past week about the potential book burning, and are worried for the safety of their soldiers.

“Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” said Gen. David Petraeus, as reported by the Associated Press.

In another AP release, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen echoed those thoughts, saying the event “would be in a strong contradiction with the all the values we stand for and fight for.”

Despite the concern shown by U.S. officials, Jones doesn’t seem to think his actions will cause harm, nor does he take responsible for any future violence against the U.S.

“It’d be tragical if because of this one person died. But at the same time, we do not feel responsible for that,” Jones said in an ABC interview.

“What we are doing is long overdue. We are revealing the violence of Islam that is much, much deeper than we’d like to admit.”

The fact that Jones is burning a Qurans to illustrate the violence of Islam is hypocritical.

To commemorate the anniversary of a painful tragedy with religious intolerance would go against everything that America is about.

I think that all Americans, whether they practice Christianity, Judaism, Islam, another religion or nothing at all, need to stand up to Jones and denounce this act of hatred.