Friday, September 10, 2010

The Lebanonisation of US politics

It was sad to read this morning that Pastor Terry Jones has decided to "temporarily halt" his plans to burn Korans in Florida. This is not because I wanted to see Korans burned, but because I am saddened by the real reason they are not being burned.

There is much confusion about what happened yesterday. First, the Pastor said that he reached a quid pro quo deal with Imam Musri that involves a halt to the "Ground Zero" mosque in New York. Apparently, this was a "sign from God" that the Pastor was waiting for. Then it immediately emerged that there is no such deal. Pastor Jones said that Imam Musri lied to him. Imam Musri said that the Pastor lied to save face.

The quid pro quo link between burning the Koran and building a mosque was not immediately obvious to a mediocre mind like mine. However, it was obvious to the beautiful mind of Sarah Palin, who wrote on her Facebook page:

"People have a constitutional right to burn a Qur'an if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero"

Whatever transpired between the Imam and the Pastor is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the Pastor has nonetheless decided to stick to his decision not to burn Korans tomorrow, even though there is no deal.  This implies that he has caved into to the pressure from various branches of government, which included statements from Obama, Clinton, Eric Holder, Robert Gates, Gen. Petraeus, as well as several visits by the FBI.

This is a shameful episode for US politics. It reminds me of the recent decision by some Moslem Lebanese TV stations to stop airing a mini-series about the life of Christ, after some churchmen were offended.  As I argued in a previous post, the only victim of all of this is freedom of expression.

It is unfortunate for Moslems that none of their leaders have the foresight, creativity or courage of some Moslem commentators.  It is very sad to see US politicians acting like their Lebanese counterparts.

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