Thursday, September 9, 2010
Protest Against Koran Burning in Gainesville Florida
from: Fight Back! News
Gainesville, FL - Fight Back! interviewed Justin Wooten from the Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society about the upcoming protest against the burning of the Qur’an in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 11.
Fight Back!: We're here with Justin Wooten, a key organizer in the Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), to talk about leading the fight against the Dove World Outreach Center and the burning of the Qur’an on Sept. 11. Justin, could you briefly explain the situation for us?
Justin Wooten: The Dove World Outreach Center is a small right-wing church led by a pastor named Terry Jones, and they are a group that consistently promotes hatred and bigotry towards Muslims and Arabs. Their claim to fame involved sending small children to school with shirts that read, “Islam is of the Devil” in an attempt to promote ignorance and intolerance among youth. Now they are burning Qur’ans on Sept. 11 in an attempt to bring their message of hate to a global audience.
SDS is here to crash their hateful party and show that the Gainesville community will not stand for discrimination against our Muslim brothers and sisters. The Dove World Outreach Center planned to have an armed group called Right Wing Extreme protect them from the large counter-protest we are planning, but Right Wing Extreme went back on their promise to participate and help with the Qur’an burning. Dove was denied a burn permit for their disgusting plans by the City of Gainesville and now Dove's insurance company has canceled their insurance and Terry Jones must pay a large sum of money or find a new place to preach hate. It doesn't look like they'll be able to pay their debt.
Fight Back!: Why has SDS chosen to hold a counter-protest next to the site of the Qur’an-burning? Why not participate in the smaller candlelight vigil in downtown Gainesville?
Wooten: While we respect any and all methods of resisting the terrible tragedy that will happen when Terry Jones and his cronies demonstrate their ignorance to the world, SDS believes we should militantly fight back against this sickening event. The best way to do this is to hold a rally with speakers and march over to the Dove World Outreach Center with the community and show Terry Jones that Gainesville is more committed to opposing him and his message of hate than he is to his ignorant beliefs.
A counter-protest tells the world that Gainesville is not afraid to confront bigotry and racism head on, and that's the message we want to spread on Sept. 11. Terry Jones wants the world to focus on the actions of himself and a handful of people on Sept. 11, but SDS will ensure that the real focus is on Muslims and their allies in the Gainesville community standing up for what is right.
Fight Back!: What do you hope to accomplish on Sept. 11 with the counter-protest SDS is planning?
Wooten: We hope to show the world that Gainesville won't stand for bigoted attacks on Muslims and Arabs. We want people to know that our community won't tolerate this and that this is just a desperate attempt to raise racist sentiments to support deeply unpopular wars. We want peace, not hatred and war. We want the U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan to end now. Bring the troops home. We want a full withdrawal from Iraq, not this partial plan we have now. No more U.S. bases.
The right has a terrible agenda centered on making people afraid of challenging injustice and dividing us, and the only way to stop them is to organize our communities and protest the injustices and wrongs that the right wing promotes.
One of our main goals is to outnumber the people burning Qur’ans by hundreds of protesters and it looks like we will achieve our goal and that no one will be able to think of Sept. 11, 2010 without thinking about how our community stood up and rejected bigotry and racism in a very big way. The Dove World Outreach Center's message of hate will be drowned by our message of solidarity with the Muslim community’s and our community’s commitment to justice.