Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Pastor Terry Jones
The Florida pastor whose public torching of the Quran sparked violent Muslim protests in the Mideast told WND Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein that an effigy of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad may be next.
Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Fla., was speaking with Klein on the latter’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on WABC 770 AM in New York City when the host asked if there was any truth to the rumor that Jones’ church would put Muhammad “on trial,” like it did with the Quran.
“There is that possibility,” Jones said, before qualifying, “it is definitely not a possibility in the near future.”
Nonetheless, he continued: “As far as judging Muhammad, it would take place in the same way. We would try to obtain experts on both sides of the bench, and if Muhammad was found innocent … then we would issue a public apology to Islam, to the Quran, to the followers of Muhammad for our actions at insulting [them]. If he was found guilty, then we would do in the same manner as the Quran burning. We would offer probably four or five different forms of punishment, and then the form of punishment that the people voted upon, that would be the punishment that would be executed.”
Klein asked what kind of “punishment” Jones had in mind.
“Probably they would be forms similar to International Judge the Quran Day,” Jones said. “On that day we had four forms of punishment – they were burning, grounding, shredding and facing of a firing squad. We would probably pick some of those kinds of forms, and if Muhammad was found guilty … we would put together some type of picture or some type of dummy figure to represent him, and then the execution would be done on that particular object we created.”
Following Jones’ recent, public burning of the Quran, violent protests erupted in several predominantly Muslim countries, including in Afghanistan, where mobs murdered seven United Nations workers and almost two dozen people were reported dead.
Klein asked Jones if he felt responsible, at least in part, for the violence in Afghanistan.
“We absolutely do not feel responsible. We definitely feel that the people who are responsible [in Afghanistan] need to be held accountable,” Jones said. “These kinds of things can only happen because in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, in Muslim, Sharia-dominated countries, they have no respect for life. They have no respect for human rights, civil rights, they have no freedom of speech, freedom of religion.”
Klein persisted: “You had to know that burning the Quran would trigger this kind of response.”
“Of course we were aware that that could possibly happen,” Jones said. “The radical element of Islam, they work through fear and intimidation.
“It’s definitely tragic that those 20 people, or possibly even more, have been killed, but we need to not forget that Islam has been killing people for hundreds and hundreds of years,” Jones continued, “and if we can really use this to bring forth real action [from Western countries or the United Nations] and not just talk, then maybe we will in the long run save hundreds of lives.”
Jones is now planning demonstrations in Dearborn, Mich., home to the largest Muslim population in the U.S., a move Klein warned could be dangerous to Jones.
“We have no intention on backing down,” the pastor insisted. “We feel that this message concerning the radical element of Islam is very, very important.
Jones explained, however, that he and his church respect the constitutional rights of Muslims in the U.S. and only wish to target the religion’s more radical elements.
“We are going to Dearborn, Michigan, not to demonstrate against Muslims, not to demonstrate against the Quran, against their freedoms, against the mosque there,” Jones stated. “We are going to Dearborn, Michigan, to demonstrate against Shariah and jihad.”