Without much fanfare a couple of weeks ago, Florida pastor Terry Jones held that Koran burning he had been talking about for months. The news must have just reached Afghanistan, though, because today a crowd in Mazar-i-Sharif estimated at 20,000 people held a demonstration against the burning. But they didn't stop there. Apparently, the proper way to retaliate against a random bigot in Florida is to storm the local U.N. compound and murder somewhere between eight and fourteen people. As the Times reports:
After disarming or shooting the United Nations compound’s guards, the crowd surged inside. Mr. Ahmadzai said that eight of the foreign staff workers, whose nationalities were not known immediately, were killed by gunfire, and that two others were captured by the mob and beheaded. Other reports said that the operations center was burned down as well.
The governor of Balkh Province, Atta Mohammad Noor, said that seven United Nations employees were killed in all, five Nepali security guards and two European international staff, one of them a woman. He said earlier reports of beheadings were unfounded; all of the victims were shot ....
Gen. Abdul Raouf Taj, the deputy police commander for Balkh Province, where Mazar-i-Sharif is located, put the death toll at eight foreign staff workers and said there had not been any beheadings. The attack was carried out by “thousands of people,” he said. “Police tried to stop them, but protesters began stoning the building and finally the situation got out of control.”
Good job, citizens of Mazar-i-Sharif, for defending your religion's honor by killing a bunch of innocent people who had nothing to do with Jones or the Koran burning, and, in fact, had dedicated themselves to making your country a bit better for you to live in. You really changed a lot of hearts and minds today. And good job, Terry Jones, who knew something like this was bound to happen and did it anyway and also for not feeling an iota of responsibility. "We are absolutely not responsible, no, we are not responsible for their actions, that's an excuse," he tells the BBC.
Update: More horrific details are emerging from Mazar-i-Sharif, with Reuters reporting that two of the victims in the UN compound were beheaded, and that the UN death toll could reach 20. The Guardian:
Although the burning went ahead with Jones in attendance more than a week ago, it was only on Friday that the matter was the subject of outraged prayers around Afghanistan. Afterwards thousands of people poured out of Mazar's Blue Mosque after a tub-thumping sermon by the presiding mullah, with one police official estimating that there were 4,000 people on the streets of the city.
Editor's note: This post has been edited with additional information and to remove an inappropriate reference to Afghanistan.