That’s Terry Jones to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric who plans to build the Islamic center in lower Manhattan a couple of blocks from “Ground Zero.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Terry Jones, the Florida minister who set the world on edge with plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, said Thursday that he had canceled his demonstration because he had won a promise to move the mosque near ground zero to a new location.
But hours later, upon hearing from the project's leaders in New York that no such deal existed, Jones backed away from his promise and said the bonfire of sacred texts was simply "suspended."
The sudden back and forth suggested that the controversy he started -- drawing pointed criticisms from President Barack Obama and an array of leaders, officials and celebrities in the United States and abroad -- was not yet finished even after multiple appearances before the news media on the lawn of his small church. Jones seemed to be struggling with how to save face and hold onto the spotlight he has attracted for an act that could make him a widely reviled figure.
The parson apparently actually believed he was negotiating to move the center:
What swayed him, he said, was not the risk to Americans or foreigners but rather the promise that the Islamic center in New York would be moved.
"This is for us a sign from God," he said.
As Jones walked back into his office, he said that the idea of the mosque as a bartering point came to him only after he had announced his "International Burn a Quran Day" in July. He said he had no regrets.
"We have accomplished what we think God asked us to do," he said.
Which all makes Jones, the former German cultist, just another delusional crackpot in the sweep of the history of religious-inspired violence.
Update: The title of the post was inspired by a discussion at Drinking Liberally last night. One of the regulars observed that conservatives were trying to make an equivalence out of the mosque locating and the Quran burning, and that dependable bag of grievance and resentment Debra J. Saunders did it this morning in the Star Tribune, in a column titled Christians vs. Muslims: the Double Standard:
When the controversy involves the ground zero mosque, the elites cite the First Amendment; when the controversy draws on the free-speech rights of the devout, editorial page editors switch to the issue of tolerance.
Let me translate. Saunders is saying that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf equals Terry Jones.
The Quran does not speak about Christianity or Judaism. You will not find that word once mentioned in the Quran. But you'll find many, many instances of Christians and Jews, because the definitions the Quran uses are human-based definitions. Not conceptual definitions; very much it speaks about the realities. So God, for example, is creator. God is seeing. God is knowing. God is all-powerful. You don't have words of concepts as much. God is beautiful. So the ascriptions or the descriptions or the adjectives are what are used to describe the creator. Religion is defined by the relationship between God and man. And Islam is the submission and the acknowledgment of the human being to the creator.
I guess you’re right Debbie; I see it now.