The Crescent Report

September 14, 2010

The Real Deal on the Qur’an-burning Scam: What the Media Didn’t Tell You

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 4:16 pm

Reverend Terry Jones, boy did he scam the media. Check out the piece below.

-Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: “You don’t have to be a weather man to know which way the wind is blowing”

The Real Deal on the Qur’an-burning Scam: What the Media Didn’t Tell You

The Rev. Terry Jones managed to get his fifteen minutes of fame as a world-class bigot. Thanks to the media, he got the attention of the entire world. Response to his dastardly proposal to burn the Holy Qur’an came from the White House, General Petraeus, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary-General of the U.N., the Vatican, and other international leaders. The media ate it up.

They camped out at his Dove Church which contained foreclosure signs visibly displayed on the premise. There they were with their trucks, microphones, and camera crews, waiting as if there were to be some world-wide cataclysmic event on September 11th. But to paraphrase the last line of T.S. Elliot’s poem “The Hollow Men”, Terry Jones’ threat to burn copies of the Holy Qur’an ended “not with a bang, but a whimper.”  It was merely the despicable publicity stunt for a cash-strapped religious hustler. But we at MAS Freedom knew that, and so did the public officials of Gainesville, Florida.

We told the media on Thursday, Sept. 9th at a national press conference held at CAIR’s office in Washington, DC, that  fire regulations would prevent the Reverend from any type of public burning. But the media continued to pump up this Islamophobe. I guess it’s true what they say about the media, “if it bleeds, it leads”, or in this case “if it burns.” However, a little bit of responsible journalism would have revealed that Rev. Terry Jones had about a “snowball’s chance in hell” an appropriate metaphor for this wicked behavior. Here’s what the media missed:

  • Terry Jones had a long history in Gainesville of Islamophobic rhetoric and behavior. He had been threatening to burn Qur’ans for a long time, while he prominently displayed signs at his church  saying that ” Islam is of the devil.” But his threats and behavior didn’t get any media attention until around May of this year. As the manufactured issue of a mosque at Ground Zero gained momentum in the media, so did Terry Jones.
  • The larger Gainesville community has always openly opposed the religious intolerance of Rev. Jones and his fringe religious group of approximately 20-25 followers.
  • Gainesville Muslims began organizing along with the larger local community at large in late July; a proactive and positive response to the threat by Jones to burn copies of the Qur’an.
  • In mid-August, both local and national Muslim organizations, along with their leadership, began to discuss collaborative efforts in addressing the Qur’an-burning issue. Ultimately, there was a consensus to organize “The Gainesville Initiative”. This initiative included an integrated effort by the religious, civic, and academic communities, and local residents to ignore Rev. Jones and his antics, and instead to focus on sponsoring events that fostered good-will among people of faith and the promotion of several public service projects on Sept. 11th.  The goal was to engage in activities that promoted a sense of a united community. Instead of giving Rev. Jones more publicity by staging protests in front of his church, the good people of Gainesville decided to spend their time supporting and helping one another.
  • On September 7th,  MASF sent an advocacy team to Gainesville, FL to work with the local community. As part of our outreach, we contacted a local law firm who communicated directly with the Gainesville City attorney and other public officials. MAS Freedom, through the local law firm, secured assurances that the city will strictly enforce the municipal fire code in the event that Reverend Jones attempted to ignite a fire on the Dove Church property, or anywhere else within the city limits. According to fire chief Gene Prince, “under the city’s fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed.” Gainesville code 10-63 states a “general prohibition on outdoor burning and open burning.”

Section 6 of the code specifically outlaws the burning of “Newspapers” and section 7 outlaws the burning of “corrugated cardboard, container board, and office paper.” On Sept. 8th the city painted over all the billboards that announced the burning of the Qur’ans on Sept. 11th.

Upon receiving the above assurances from Gainesville public officials, I returned to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 9th for a national press conference. As fate would have it, I sat next to Randall Reid, the Alachua County Manager, which is the county seat for Gainesville.He emphasized that if Rev. Jones attempted to start any kind of fire there would be a fire truck and team ready to extinguish it immediately. He also stated that if Rev. Jones attempted to ignite an outdoor fire, he would be arrested.

Both Jones and MAS Freedom knew this. The question is, why didn’t the media know? Yeah, the media got punked and missed the real story, which was the wonderful spirit of the people of Gainesville who had the courage to stand up and say “no” to religious intolerance, hatred, and bigotry.

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2 Comments »

  1. Interesting to know that Rev. Terry Jones could not have burned the books if he wanted to. Mainstream media made it sound like the man either changede his mind, or had been ‘made’ to change his mind about the stunt.

    I wonder what would have happened if he purchased an indoor fireplace to conduct the book burnings within the church?!!

    It saddens me that Media is quick to report on hate, violence…but not so quick to report on love and peace in the world.

    Comment by Survival Time — September 15, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  2. The media didn’t get punked. These are deliberate acts of omission to create a media narrative. The facts you mentioned in the penultimate paragraph do not support the media narrative and the effort to create a hightened sense of paranoia about islam close to nine eleven.

    The sooner people realize that the media actively works to promote islamophobia, the better equipped they will be in countering it.

    Comment by Losing Freedom — September 16, 2010 @ 8:09 am


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