By Fatima Jomaa
Unis Middle School
For people around Dearborn, the capital of Arab America, Florida pastor Terry Jones is like a constant headache that gets worse, especially around the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
“The commotion that Terry Jones is making is ridiculous. It’s affecting the Arab community, and it’s affecting the Muslims because the foul language used against us. Also, the media should avoid taking pictures, doing interviews, and videotaping his horrible actions and not give him much attention. Mr. Jones is focusing specifically on the Dearborn community because it’s the most populated place with Muslims,” said an eighth grade Unis student, Nevein Srour.
Jones is the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, a small nondenominational Christian church in Gainesville, Fla. He first gained national and international attention in 2010 for his plan to burn Qur’ans, the scripture of the Islamic religion, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He is a self-declared independent presidential candidate in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
Nineteen-year-old Alaa Jomaa had a very strong argument about why people shouldn’t give Jones attention. She explained that Jones was a pastor, and pastors are supposed to bring peace and harmony to the world, not create such a big commotion. She stated that Muslims should speak out, but in a civilized manner to make Jones feel stupid. “The more angry us Muslims get, the more Jones will deliberately make vulgar comments.”
Another eighth grade Unis student, Kaylee Mullen, had a different opinion. She is neither Arabic nor Muslim. “I really don’t care about it because it’s not affecting me,” she said. In her view, a person should forgive, and allow second chances.
Most of the world knows about the problems that Jones has been making these past two years. September 11, 2010 was International Burn the Qur’an Day for Jones and his 50 followers. It was the day when he lit a bonfire and burn the holy Islamic book. Different people had different opinions on why or why not the Qur’an should be burned or if Jones should be punished or not.
The following week, Jones came to Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit with a large Arab American and Muslim population. Dearborn is sometimes called the Capital of Arab America. He wanted to burn more Qu’rans in Dearborn, but was unable to do that. People protested his speech in front of City Hall.
“You don’t have to be a Muslim to be against Terry Jones!” says Italian American Carol Bodary, who lives in Dearborn. “I don’t agree with what Jones is doing. His freedom of speech is going off boundary. To tell you the truth, I would feel the same way the Muslims feel if someone wanted to burn the Bible. Also, it’s not wrong to express how you feel, but it reaches to a point where it starts to hurt other people’s feelings and you need to respect that. If Mr. Jones were to be punished, I would be against that because that kind of revenge will bring more problems and commotion. He shouldn’t be aloud to go to public schools and talk about religious believes, especially to minors.”