Burning the Koran – Riots in Afghanistan!

Dear Commons Community,

Over the past weekend, we saw the horrific rioting in Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East in response to the burning of the Koran by Pastor Terry Jones in his church in Florida.  In addition to the burning, rioting, and anti-American chanting, at least twenty people have been killed and in some cases beheaded. The Sunday morning political commentators as well as elected political leaders were asking what we can do other than condemn the violence as the over-reaction of religious radicals to the actions of one cult pastor with a congregation of about thirty parishioners.    In this country, our freedom of speech protects everyone to express their views as vile as they might be and in this case the burning of the Koran but we must also understand that parts of the rest of the world do not necessarily have or appreciate these same freedoms.   I think this raises the larger question of whether our goals in Iraq and Afghanistan (where the cultures are quite different) to build democracy with all its inherent freedoms can ever come to fruition.  The actions of the past weekend suggest that we cannot.


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