Two days before the Arizona and Michigan primaries and nine days before Super Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Sunday that President Barack Obama demonstrated “weakness’’ when he apologized to the Afghanistan government for the recent burning of several Korans.
The Koran burnings by NATO troops at a U.S. military base near Kabul have led to a series of violent protest across three Afghan provinces that has resulted in about 30 deaths. Among those are a pair of senior U.S. military advisers who were shot dead Saturday and who were said to be targeted for not taking the protests seriously enough.
Last week, Obama sent an apology letter to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in saying the burning was a mistake. Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Santorum said that the burning did not deserve an apology since it wasn’t deliberate. “I think it shows weakness,” he said.
Fellow GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had previously condemned the apology, saying the president should demand that Karzai and the Afghan government should apologize for the deaths of four U.S. soldiers as a result of the protests.
What do you think, should the president have apologized for the burning of the Korans?
Patch contacted Al-Farooq Masjid for a comment on its position on the Koran burnings and the subsequent protests and apology, but has not yet heard back from a representative of the Home Park mosque (442 14th Street) that is the largest of an estimated 35 mosques in metro Atlanta. According to its website, there are an estimated 75,000 Muslims in Atlanta from more than 50 countries.
Also according to its swebsite, Al-Farooq Masjid is a "nonprofit, non-political, religious organization that is operated and maintained by those who believe in the unity of Allah and the Last Day, establish Salah, practice Zakah and fear none except Allah (SWT).
"The goals and missions include: 1. Serving the best interest of Islam and needs of Muslim community of metro-Atlanta, 2. Helping the international Muslim community of Atlanta to carry out activities in pursuance of Islam as a complete way of life, 3. Providing a place of worship to carry on religious, educational and other Islamic activities, 4. Presenting Islam to the followers of other faiths and promoting goodwill between Muslims and non-Muslims (Dawah), 5. Performing last prayer for the deceased members of Islamic faith, 6. Assisting the Muslim community in all forms of local Islamic needs such as guidance on marriage ceremonies, funeral arrangements and burial services."
Clearly the Koran burnings have underscored the vast cultural divide that exists more than a decade after American troops invaded Afghanistan. In America, ongoing concerns about terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks, have led to a decline in how American Muslims are perceived. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, only atheists rate lower than Muslims when Americans are polled about religion.
How do you feel about American Muslims? Maybe ponder such as you watch the accompanying video lecture that was delivered on Feb. 17 at Al-Farooq Masji. It is presented by Imam Mohammad Khalid and the lecture is entitled, “To Be A Good Muslim, Be A Good Neighbor.”