While Rev. Terry Jones ultimately canceled his plans to burn Qurans at his Gainesville, FL church today, and said he will “not ever” attempt the stunt again, infamous Christian-right activist Randall Terry followed through on his scheme to destroy the Islamic holy book, tearing pages from an English copy this morning in front of the White House.
Jones’ plan sparked huge protests in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, but Terry wasn’t fazed by military leaders’ warnings that burning the Quran could endanger U.S. troops, explaining, “The only reason I will not burn it at the White House is because to burn anything on the Capitol grounds is a felony.” Terry said he stood “in solidarity” with others who planned to destroy Qurans today, including far-right Christian activists in Springfield, TN, Amarillo, TX, and Cheyenne, WY.
As ThinkProgress has noted, some families of 9/11 victims have condemned the politicization of the anniversary of the terror attacks, saying protests related to the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero today “disrespect the memories of our loved ones on this sacred day.” When asked about this by ThinkProgress, Terry dismissed the victims’ families concerns, offering an insincere “sorry” and adding that he wouldn’t “let the tail wag the dog:”
Tomorrow, tea party activists will rally on the National Mall for a “Taxpayer March on Washington.” Activist Andrew Beacham, who actually performed the Quran ripping while Terry explained which passages were being desecrated, told ThinkProgress that he has been actively affiliated with both the tea party and the related 9/12 movement:
When asked why he was desecrating Islam’s holiest book, Beacham said, “there is only one religion and that is Christianity.” Asked about ripping versus burning the Quran, Beacham casually replied, “same diff.” Beacham and Terry were joined by about four other protestors, who carried signs with messages such as, “9-11 = Koran + Sharia Law,” “Obama: Sharia or Constitution?,” and “Can violence be peaceful? Islam thinks so!”
Terry is veteran right-wing rabble rouser who is best known for his ugly anti-abortion demonstrations, but seems willing to exploit any cause de jour to garner attention for himself. He’s burned Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in effigy, launched a contest to encourage people to make videos burning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in effigy, and warned there would be “violent convulsions” if the Affordable Care Act doesn’t ban abortions.