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15 attend local rally of former Cape resident who burned Quran

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Rev. Terry Jones brought his anti-Islamic message to his hometown of Cape Girardeau on Sunday night, but only a few showed up to hear it while others opted to stand outside with placards of protest.

The three-hour "Stand Up America Now" rally drew about 15 people to VFW Post 3838, though the rented meeting room was set up for 500. Outside, about five Southeast Missouri State University students stood along North Kingshighway with signs that had messages like "Freedom of religion means all religion."

Muslims stayed away, though beforehand they condemned Jones, who made headlines earlier this year when he burned the Quran.

During the rally, some attendees nodded in agreement when the night's first speaker, Usama Dakdok, called the Quran a "dumb counterfeit of the Bible" that is full of inconsistencies and contradictions.

Jones, who graduated from Central High School in 1969, was scheduled to speak later in the night about the moral, spiritual and economic condition of America. Jones is pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, a fundamentalist Christian church in Gainesville, Fla.

"We have nothing against Muslims," Jones said during an interview after he arrived Thursday in Cape Girardeau. "As Americans, they're allowed to be here, worship and build mosques. We have never been anything but peaceful."

What Jones does object to, he says, is Sharia law, which is the code of conduct or religious law of Islam. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, economics and politics, as well as other matters such as hygiene, diet, prayer and fasting.

But Jones worries that Muslims are slowly incorporating it into American life and he believes if it's fully realized it will have dire effects on America. He can talk for hours, and has, on the subject and his theories.

But Jones, who moved away from Cape Girardeau decades ago, first came to the national consciousness in September 2010, when he threatened to burn the Muslim holy book amid a plan to build an Islamic Center near the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

He initially abandoned his "Burn a Quran Day" plan after government officials warned him it could have far-reaching consequences and put U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan at risk of retaliation. Then, earlier this year, Jones put the Quran "on trial" and then, dressed in a judicial robe, ordered a copy of the text be burned.

The consequences government officials -- including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who personally called Jones last year -- warned about may have been realized. Some say Jones' act was a factor when a mob the following month attacked a U.N. compound in Afghanistan. Seven U.N. employees were killed. A week later, another protest in Kandahar left nine dead and more than 90 injured.

Jones has heard some say he shares culpability for those acts.

"I still think it was the right thing to do," he said. "America has taken somewhat of a backing-down position. When do we no longer exercise freedom of speech because something could happen?"

Local Muslims who were interviewed last week were largely dismissive of Jones, though they say his type of message can be dangerous.

"Personally, it's sad," said Shafiq Malik, 54, a Pakistan native who owns a local health care business. "What he's saying in the name of Christ is not actual Christianity."

Malik said Jones is doing to Christianity what terrorists do with the Islamic faith -- perverting it to suit his own agenda.

"What he did to the Quran offends us," he said. "It offends us really bad. But there's nothing you can do. If he's a hatemonger, he's a hatemonger."

Musa Wadi, a doctor at Southeast Hospital born in Jordan, said he didn't know who Terry Jones was until his wife reminded him. But he was disappointed at what he called "spreading hate."

He, too, was put off by the burning of the Quran.

"What if somebody burned the Bible?" he said. "We believe the Quran is the word of God. But we have good relationships with people in Cape Girardeau. I think he has no support in the Christian community."

Wadi's daughter, Haneen Wadi, is the president of the Muslim Student Association at Southeast Missouri State University. She said she received an email from Jones' organization informing her of Sunday's event.

While Jones' people say emails only go out to those who subscribe, Wadi said she has never signed up for email alerts from an anti-Islamic organization.

"They want attention," Haneen Wadi said. "I don't even know why he's getting this attention. I think he's a joke."



Pertinent address:

1049 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO

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I got a press release from his organization, too. I was going to attend, but forgot about it.

Here's my only connection to Terry Jones:


I wasn't going to ask him about his politics, but his impressions of growing up in Cape as a member of the Class of 1969.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Sun, Oct 23, 2011, at 9:18 PM

While I do believe the Muslim faith is seeing preferential treatment in this country, this is truly grandstanding. Muslims do not deserve to be treated any differently (better or worse) than anyone else.

A copy of the Quran does not make someone a Muslim any more than a copy of the Bible makes someone a Christian or an American flag makes someone a patriot. They are nothing more than symbols and should be treated as such. Most religions even condemn worshiping false gods.

So burn the Quran, burn the Bible, burn the flag if you want. It doesn't change who you are or what you believe.

-- Posted by malan on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 9:00 AM

Mr. Jones, you are a fine example of ignorance at it's best. I didn't know about this, or I would have been there to throw rotten tomatoes at you. Mr. Malik is very correct in what he has to say. Funny, Mr. Jones, maybe you should actually get out and spend some time with folks before you condemn them. Muslims are a very peaceful folk. Yes there are extremists, but we have those types everywhere. In fact, now Sir, you too are looking like an extremist to me. I have no use for such a person as yourself. Please leave....

-- Posted by Hot Dog on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 9:18 AM

we need more people like mr jones---america america is afraid to stand up for in god we trust-the muslims will keep pushing america in using our laws for there own uses--

-- Posted by graham-don@att.net on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 10:19 AM

Burn the Quran, burn the bible, just leave me out of this hocus pocus. Lead to too much violence.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 10:49 AM

It's ironic that the most ignorant among us are accusing others of being ignorant.

Yes, it's true that there are many peaceful Muslims around here, but Islam is anything but a peaceful religion.

Read up...

-- Posted by B_O_B on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 10:57 AM

That kook is from Cape?

"But Jones worries that Muslims are slowly incorporating it into American life and he believes if it's fully realized it will have dire effects on America. "

Sounds similar to Hitler's attitudes toward the Jews.

-- Posted by pedln on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 11:19 AM

A square, circle, triangle, pentagon, octagon, hexagon, crescent, star, fish, bear, bird, swastika, etc, etc, they're all religious symbols somewhere. As is most everything else you can think of. Unless they are antique or given to you by your favorite relative, they have no more value than a monopoly piece.

-- Posted by malan on Mon, Oct 24, 2011, at 7:49 PM

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