No burning need

Like the developers of the proposed Muslim community center and mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, the members of a small church in Florida have a First Amendment right to carry out their plans — to burn Korans Saturday to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the fact that they have such rights doesn’t mean that either group should exercise them. In both cases, there is a good deal of thumb-in-your-eye symbolism. It’s particularly true of the Koran- burning planned by the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. Gen. David Petraeus warned it will inflame anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. military personnel.

Doesn’t matter, said Terry Jones, pastor of the 50-member church. America must stand up, he said. “How long are we going to be controlled by the terrorists, by radical Islam?” he asked.

Burning Korans in the security of the United States isn’t exactly standing up to terrorists. It is a way of insulting many Muslims who aren’t terrorists and endangering U.S. troops. It is a fire that doesn’t need to be lit, except to draw attention to a small church.


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