News / Asia

Afghans Protest Quran Burning for Fifth Day

An Afghan protester holds a burning effigy of American pastor Terry Jones during a demonstration in  Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, April 4, 2011.
An Afghan protester holds a burning effigy of American pastor Terry Jones during a demonstration in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, April 4, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

For the fifth day, Afghans have taken to the streets to protest the burning of a Quran by Florida pastor Terry Jones. Since the initial eruption of violence in Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday, about 20 people are estimated to have died.

The burning of the Muslim holy book by the pastor in southern U.S. state of Florida has evoked angry and sometimes violent protests across Afghanistan for a fifth day.  The reasons for the outrage are complex and, for many, go well beyond the incident.

An estimated 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the Afghan capital, Kabul, to show their anger as well as their grievances.

Some reports indicate the anger has been fanned by elements who want to see failure in the upcoming transition to Afghan security control of the provinces.  

But many critics of the government and the international security forces say the situation was badly mismanaged and could have been avoided.  Some point to the fact that President Hamid Karzai escalated the situation by publicly condemning the burning a few days after the Florida incident.  Since then,  Karzai has been outspoken in his demands for punishment for Jones, with no mention of any legal process.

The director of the American Institute for Afghan Studies in Kabul, Mohammed Omar Sharifi, says perception is also a key problem. "The way the whole Terry Jones case was projected in Afghanistan was, 'We did not hear much about the condemnation, the huge condemnation of his action in the American society.'  If the Afghans hear that I think they will react differently," he said.

On Sunday, General David Petraeus, Commander of the International Forces, made this statement regarding the Quran burning.

"We condemn the action of an individual in the United States who burned a Holy Quran.  That action was hateful, it was intolerant and it was extremely disrespectful,” Petraeus states. “We condemn it in the strongest manner possible."

U.S. President Barack Obama also came out against the Quran burning, but said nothing justified the violence and the deaths caused by the attack on a U.N. compound during protests in Mazar-i-Sharif.

That is a sentiment many Afghans share.  The unexpected violence in Mazar-i-Shariff took many in the country by shock.  For many years, the multi-ethnic town has been comparatively calm and quiet.

Since the attack on Friday, violence and the provocation that has caused it have come under equal condemnation in the Afghan media and others.

For Mohammed Omar Sharifi this is an indication that many Afghans understand the response was disproportionate. "There was a huge condemnation of this violence throughout the country.  For a lot of people, especially if you look at Afghan Media and Afghan Debates, around the country. It was seen as absolutely inappropriate and misguided," Sharifi said.

Sharifi also says a clearer dialogue on both sides could come from these incidents so that such emotional responses might be avoided in the future.   

You May Like

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid