WASHINGTON (AFP) – A small group of conservative Christians tore some pages from a Koran in a protest outside the White House Saturday to denounce what they called the “charade of Islam” on the anniversary of 9/11.
“Part of why we’re doing that, please hear me: the charade that Islam is a peaceful religion must end,” said Randall Terry, a leading anti-abortion campaigner, and one of six people who took part in the protest.
Another activist, Andrew Beacham, read out a few Koran passages calling for hatred towards Christians and Jews, and then ripped those pages from an English paperback edition of the Islamic holy book.
He carefully put the torn pieces into a plastic bag, in order not to litter, and said: “The only reason I will not burn it at the White House is because to burn anything on the Capitol grounds is a felony.”
Beacham, who describes himself as a leader of the rightwing conservative Tea Party from Indiana, added: “The Twin Towers were taken down because of the Koran and other religious teachings.”
A few curious tourists stopped to watch the huddle outside the White House, while police took down the names of the participants but did not intervene.
The tiny protest came as the United States marked the somber ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks amid heightened tensions following a radical Florida pastor’s threat to burn the Koran.
After days of global outrage and protests, pastor Terry Jones, from Gainesville, said Saturday: “We will definitely not burn the Koran, no.”
“Not today, not ever,” he told NBC television when pressed for his plans.
President Barack Obama told a deeply polarized America on Saturday that Islam was not the enemy as the 9/11 ceremonies took place.
“As Americans we will not and never will be at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was Al-Qaeda, (a) sorry band of men, which perverts religion,” Obama said.
Two choices: 1) Here comes the media spin that tea partiers are loony, fringe right wing bigots, 2) is it possible that the guy was a plant? At any rate, Obama’s ground zero mosque remarks opened the floodgates that have diverted attention away from the economy before November. The big question is will Americans fall for it?