Protesters Foil Hate-Mongers’ Plan
By Anwar Iqbal  


Washington, DC: A bold gesture of love outside the White House on Saturday afternoon prevented a burning that could have triggered a chain of hateful actions and reactions around the globe.

It was nice and warm — felt more like a spring day than a chilly December afternoon — when a group of hate-mongers gathered outside the White House with the intention to burn the Holy Qur'an.

Nervous security personnel, some of them in uniform, surrounded the group hoping to use a law that forbids making a fire outside the White House to prevent the burning. There is, however, no law in the US that prevents the burning of a religious book, Islamic, Christian or Jewish.

As security personnel were still pondering what to do, a group of counter-protesters appeared on the scene and confronted the hate-mongers.

A young woman with a bold, smiling face held up a placard, declaring: “I’m a Christian and I love the Qur'an.”

Another displayed a poster, saying: “Tell me, whom do you burn when white males go on shooting rampage? Don’t you get it? You are causing terror.”

John Zangas, a Marine who was one of the counter-protesters, told WTOP news channel they had come to “block the spread of bigotry and lies”. And they literally tried to block the message of hate, holding up large sheets to obscure the first group from view. They also yelled to drown out hate chants.

Ed Spiker, who was with the group that planned to burn holy books, told WTOP that they were a bunch of frustrated Americans. “We’re just people who are a little fed up with the lack of effort from our government to fight radical Islam,” he said.

While this loud confrontation continued, a bicyclist stopped near the man who was holding copies of the holy book, snatched them from him and rode away. Some said he was a security man who took advantage of the confusion to defuse a potentially dangerous act. Others speculated that he was one of the counter-protesters.

Jordan Denari, a Catholic counter-protester, said she came because she wanted “to educate the public about Islamophobia”.

The anti-Islam protesters also criticised US President Barack Obama for defending Muslims. Since last week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 people and caused a wave of anti-Muslim protests across America, President Obama has issued several statements urging Americans not to confuse Islam with terrorism.

He insisted that acts of terror were committed by a handful of Muslims while the overwhelming majority was peaceful.

The anti-Islam protesters called President Obama a “closet Muslim” and accused him of defending extremists. - Dawn


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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