Anti-Abortion Group Burns Qur'an, Pride Flag

July 20, 2006

Source: Clarion-Ledger

On July 20, 2006 Clarion-Ledger reported, "Jackson Muslims and a statewide interfaith group reacted with disgust Wednesday to reports that the national anti-abortion group Operation Save America burned a Quran during a Tuesday night gathering at a Pearl church.

'A group that acts in such a hateful way does not really represent the word of God,' said Emad Al-Turk, co-founder of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson.

Activists from Operation Save America, formerly known as Operation Rescue, have been in Jackson since Saturday for eight days of protests against the state's only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization in the Fondren neighborhood.

During a demonstration at the Capitol on Tuesday, anti-abortion activists tore up pages from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, along with a gay pride flag and copies of six U.S. Supreme Court rulings related to religion in public schools, sodomy and abortion.

The group intended to burn the items at the Capitol but couldn't because it didn't have a permit, said Operation Save America volunteer Pat McEwen, a retired college professor from Palm Bay, Fla.

Instead, the activists burned the Quran and other items Tuesday evening in the parking lot outside Making Jesus Real Church in Pearl, McEwen said. Police confirmed the burning.

Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe behind the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion who later became an anti-abortion activist, lit the match, McEwen said. McEwen said the Quran was burned because it condones violence.

Operation Save America director the Rev. Flip Benham said his group also burned a Quran during a 2004 demonstration in Columbus, Ohio. Imam Shaheed Muhammad of Masjid Muhammad in Jackson said Islam opposes abortion.

'We don't support abortion,' he said. 'I don't know why they would attach us on that issue.'

For Muslims, desecrating the Quran or any holy book is the 'highest degree of insult,' Muhammad said."