Saturday, 11 September 2010

Florida: Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 derived its title from the temperature at which paper burns. Florida is feeling the heat from around the world about the pastor Terry Jones on/off campaign to incinerate copies of the Koran at the Dove World Outreach.

This is the stuff of fatwa. You don't hear stories of people burning Bibles, Torahs or, to the frank, any kind of book (apart from the Nazis), so this proposed action is incendiary to the Muslim world.

The proposed compromise, to move the location of an Islamic Centre in Manhattan, is probably a non-starter in that the site is two blocks away from Ground Zero.

This row is dangerous and, whatever happens, Mr Jones has succeeded in strengthening the common stereotype of the United States as an arrogant, intolerant state. Although this is a simplistic and wrong-headed view, there are extremists in the country who play to the gallery.

Terrorism may increase in the short term, Osama bin Laden will probably release a video, and Mr Jones may need to employ enhanced security measures for himself and his church.


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