Responding to news that Florida pastor Terry Jones had last week burnt the Quran, a mob of Afghans in the relatively calm city of Mazar-i-Sharif ransacked the United Nations headquarters there, killing 12 people. Last year, Jones sparked widespread condemnation when he threatened to burn a copy of the Quran outside his church. While he ultimately decided against it after pleas from high ranking U.S. officials such as Gen. David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Jones last week burned the Quran after a supposed “trial” of the Muslim holy book at his church found it guilty of “crimes against humanity.”
Violent protests in Afghanistan have now spread as far south as Kandahar. However, Jones feels no sense of responsibility. “We do not feel responsible,” he said on Friday. “We feel more that the Muslims and radical Islam uses that as an excuse.” Now, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Jones says he might also put the prophet Mohammad on trial:
Terry Jones, the radical pastor who oversaw the burning of a Koran in his Florida church last month after a mock court hearing, may put the Islamic prophet Mohammed on trial in his next ‘day of judgement’, he told The Sunday Telegraph.
“It is definitely a consideration to stage a trial on the life of Mohammed in the future,” he said in interview on Saturday.
Jones said in an interview with ABC News that his burning of the Quran “definitely does prove that there is a radical element of Islam. … I believe the UN needs to stand up to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Muslim-dominated countries. They have been persecuting, killing Christians for generations.”
Una Moore, a development professional based in Afghanistan, wrote on UN Dispatch on Friday that the reaction to Jones in Mazar-i-Sharif marks “the end” of the international community’s involvement in Afghanistan:
Foreigners have been killed in Afghanistan before, and today’s attack was not the first fatal attack on UN staff. But it was different than previous fatal attacks. Very different. The killers were ordinary residents of a city deemed peaceful enough to be one of the first places transferred to the control of Afghan security forces.
“Terry Jones and others will continue to pull anti-Islam stunts and opportunistic extremists here will use those actions to incite attacks against foreigners,” she wrote, adding, “Unless we, the internationals, want our guards to fire on unarmed protesters from now on, the day has come for us to leave Afghanistan.”
The Washington Post reports that Jones acknowledged he broke his promise not to burn a Quran. “If you want to be technical,” he said, “I guess we broke our word.”