A Gainesville, Florida pastor named Terry Jones and his church congregation threatened to burn copies of the Quran this past Saturday, September 11th, the anniversary of terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. This was their way of responding to the Islamic activities from that day and since that time.
Pastor Jones got a phone call from Defense Secretary, Robert Gates asking him to not do it, as it would likely stir Islamic extremists to riot and put many U.S. military personnel in harm’s way. The plot thickened when Jones met with Imam Muhammad Musri and discussed a trade-off: Jones and his church family would not burn the Quran, if the Muslims would call off the plan to build a Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. The whole story got lots of press for both Jones and the Muslims.
In my view — it was a pitiful display of leadership on both their parts. Both the Christian and Muslim leaders demonstrated miserable leadership IQ. Let me explain.
First, Terry Jones seems like a level-headed guy. So why does he think burning copies of another religion’s chief book will solve any problems? What good actually comes from it? I know the answer. Nothing. It doesn’t’ achieve anything positive. Maybe a few church members feel vindicated — but no one’s soul is enriched. No peace is achieved. No problems are solved. No one finds Christ. No outsider views Christians as loving and forgiving. In my opinion, it’s poor leadership.
On the other hand, although in this free country, any group can build anything they want as long as it is zoned properly by the city — the Islamic leaders demonstrated narrow perspective when they planned to build the Mosque so close to the tragedy linked to Islamic terrorism. Of course, they didn’t do the bombing themselves, but shouldn’t it have crossed their minds to show some sensitivity and choose different real estate, since over 3,000 families lost loved ones there? Absolutely. I’m sure it did cross their minds. But they’re dong it anyway. Every time I hear an educated Muslim on TV, they always claim they are about peaceful co-existence. Congeniality. This proposed Mosque defies that claim. It is one of the poorest displays of leadership ever. In fact, despite their claims, they continue to act in ways that if any other religious group emulated them, the ACLU would take legal action in minutes.
Please — let’s live and lead with the end in mind. Leaders — ask yourselves some questions before you do anything: What is desired outcome of my action? What will it accomplish? What’s my motive for doing it? How will it affect others? Here’s a leadership nugget for you: The further out you can see in the future, the better decisions you’ll make in the present.