Dr. Tom Stevens, Objectivist Party Chair, blasted Staffan de Mistura, the top United Nations envoy in Afghanistan, for blaming Rev. Terry Jones' Quran burning on March 20, 2011 at the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida for the 20 deaths that came at the hands of Afghan protesters in early April. Specifically, Dr. Stevens objected to the following statement made by de Mistura:
I don't think we should be blaming any Afghan. We should be blaming the person who produced the news - the one who burned the Quran.
In response, Dr. Stevens said:
The people responsible for the deaths of the innocent civilians in Afghanistan are the individuals who killed them. No one else! Just because you don't like what someone else does or says does not give you the right to protest in a manner that violently takes away their life, liberty or property.
On March 20, 2011, Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida burned a private copy of the Quran after a mock trial was held. President Obama called the desecration "an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry" but also said it doesn't justify attacking and killing innocent people calling the murders "outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity." Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, has demanded the United States and the United Nations "bring justice to the pastor" of the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida.
Dr. Tom Stevens, Objectivist Party Chair, commented as follows on the Quran burning:
From the perspective of private property ownership, Rev. Terry Jones has every right to burn any book he or his ministry owns. It is simply no one elses business. However, there is also the right Rev. Jones has under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to express his political opinion through protected symbolic speech. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that burning the American Flag is protected symbolic speech and while I personally oppose book-burning, Rev. Jones has every right to express his concerns about radical Islam through actions that strongly express his views on the topic. I do not want to see the day when an American citizen is constrained in expressing his political or religious views just because those views offend others. That is not the standard by which our right to free speech should be measured.
The Objectivist Party was founded by Dr. Tom Stevens on February 2, 2008. It has 32 chartered affiliates and members in 18 countries. Its website is located at http://www.objectivistparty.com/