I know I will not be the only one aware of the irony inherent in the name of the , “Dove World Outreach Church” at the centre of a political and religious storm over the proposals of its pastor, Terry Smith, to burn copies of the Koran tomorrow. Doves are a symbol of peace and reconciliation, as for “outreach”, there might well be better ways to achieve this than burning the sacred text of another faith.
There are, of course, other ironies in the situation. Pastor Terry Smith has justified his actions on the grounds that,
“Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behaviour.”
And burning the Koran is clearly the best strategy to show radical Muslims the error of their narrow, aggressive, fundamentalist attitudes...
Moreover, Terry Smith, who has written a book about Islam as a satanic religion, and seems to base a lot of his religious thinking around the evils of Islam, has never actually read the Koran and allegedly doesn’t know any Muslims.
At the same time you can’t help but despair at the publicity this proposed action has received. Dove World Outreach has no more than fifty members and is not affiliated to any other religious institution. So, a tin pot organisation, a handful of crazies does something stupid and offensive – sure it should be condemned, but does it really warrant the high level interventions, or the hype and hysteria that has been generated?