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Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Judge H. Lee Sarokin

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What's Worse: Burning the Koran or Killing Innocent People Not Responsible for It?

Posted: 04/ 4/11 03:38 PM ET

The Muslim community insists, and rightly so, that all its members should not be blamed or condemned for the acts of a few. They point to the unfairness of opposing the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero and other locations throughout the United States for the same reason. They properly argue that the acts of a band of radicals should not be imputed to an entire religion.

But just the opposite appears to be happening in respect to the acts of Pastor Terry Jones and his minuscule group of nutty provocateurs. Despite the fact that virtually every leader in this country, including the Defense Secretary and President of the United States himself, has condemned the burning of the Koran, and indeed pleaded with Pastor Jones not to do it, and General Petraeus has condemned those "in the United States who recently burned the Holy Qur'an," murders have been committed in retaliation and President Obama has been burned in effigy. More than 20 people have been killed and more than 80 injured, and apparently the retaliation is continuing.

Where are those same voices in the Muslim leadership who defend the construction of mosques and decry the bigotry of the opposition, but who remain silent in the face of the murder of innocents and condemnation of the U.S. for the acts of a few? Maybe I missed it, but apart from a few organizations in the U.S., such as MPAC and CAIR, I neither saw nor heard Muslim voices elsewhere condemning the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan in retaliation for something someone has done here in the United States -- something clearly contrary to our country's pleas, but allowed by our principles. No matter how despicable Pastor Jones and his band of unmerry men might be, nothing can possibly justify this brutal retaliation or the failure to speak out against it. Coupled with that silence, Muslims must examine why our leadership and apparently the rest of the world so readily expected and so many readily accepted violence as a result of the Koran burning.

Condemning any group or country for the acts of a few is wrong; burning the Koran is wrong; but to remain silent in the face of the murder of innocent people in retaliation is equally wrong.

P.S. If there has been strong condemnation from the world Muslim community for these acts of retaliation, then I apologize and withdraw my criticism, but I have not seen it.