At least 22 people were killed by a mob in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, on Friday and Saturday, including seven United Nations workers and four guards. The murderous rioting was tied to Florida pastor Terry Jones, who made international news last fall by threatening to burn a Koran on September 11. This March 20, he made good on his threat and, though the event was sparsely attended and ignored by the U.S. media, video of the Koran burning slowly gained an audience in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. Jones has said the killings aren't his fault. But can he wash his hands so easily?
This is all Jones' fault: Don't believe Jones' "crocodiles tears," says John Avlon in The Daily Beast. The "crazed" Florida "carnival-barker hate-monger" didn't pull the trigger, but he knew his "high-cost stunt" would put Western troops and civilian workers in harm's way — Gen. David Petraeus warned him, and us, of these exact dangers last year. And it isn't over: Our enemies will now use Jones' actions to "redirect the Arab Spring uprisings' anger toward the U.S."
"The Koran-burning pastor's crocodile tears"
Blame the crazed killers, not Jones: "What is it about our political and cultural 'elite' that they have to pin the blame for a murderous rampage on the antics of self-promoting Christian rogue," asks B. Daniel Blatt in Gay Patriot. I won't defend this "juvenile stunt" by a media-enabled "crackpot," but I'm also not going to follow the "politically correct" horde laying the blame for "the world's ills," once again, on "the actions and attitudes of white Christian males."
"Must white Christians be to blame for all the world's ills?"
Point the finger at fanatics on both sides: The Muslim extremists who incited the killings are "egregiously unhinged," but so is Jones, says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. "What on earth does it achieve to burn a holy book? And how screwed up is a religion which responds to this by murdering U.N. workers?" Both "sick versions of religious fanaticism" feed off of each other, and this toxic interaction of "Christianism and Islamism could take us all back to the dark ages."
"Sparks from a book burning"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How to survive a spaceship disaster
- The slippery slope of Twitter's attempts to stop harassment against women
Subscribe to the Week