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Fighting fire with photography
September 10th, 2010
04:49 PM ET

Response to Quran burning: a peace 'photobomb'

Writer and photographer Karen Walrond was beyond upset to hear the news that a pastor at a church in Gainesville, Florida, was organizing a "Burn the Quran Day" on September 11.

"I pretty much lost my mind" when I first heard of the event, Walrond told CNN's Camille Felton.

At first, Walrond ranted and raved and got really angry.

"I kept thinking, should I organize a protest? What am I going to do?"

Eventually, she calmed down. The Houston, Texas, woman realized the best way to fight hatred was with love.

So she put out a call on her blog chookooloonks.com for peaceful images and messages. And she created what she calls a "photobomb" to send to the Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center.

The response - from a tolerant America - was overwhelming.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • Quran

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Isn't ?

    The Religious Right was created by AMERICA?

    September 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  2. Mualim :)

    Freedom of Speech becomes freedom to hurt >_<
    Really, How would Christian FEELS if we burn his Bible ?? Or Even worst , Make burn a Bible Day ??

    America is Fake, all the freedom mottos she creats is " gone with wind " Just WORDS!
    Islam does not condome Violents or Killing << It's a religion of Peace

    Qute from Quran : Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye shouldshow them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the justdealers.

    This is so Sad, Learn about Islma before you judge it 😦

    September 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Actually, it is the Muslims who should burn their copies of the koran for the 1400 year old con job that is pulled on them daily by the imams and ayatollahs. Christians should burn their copies of the NT for the 2000 year old con job that has been perpetuated on them by popes, bishops, priests, ministers and evangelicals. And Jews should burn their copies of the OT/Torah for the 6000 year old con job pulled on them by their past and current rabbis.

      September 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      i guess car-bombing and suicide bombing is dealing justly to them. I say that a nice clean shot to the middle of the forehead is just dealing to them from us

      September 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  3. Reality

    For new members only:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Ditto for houses and classes of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues

    September 11, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  4. Americano

    MAYBE YOU ALL SHOULD LEARN SOME FROM THIS PASTOR AND THIS IMAM.

    AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/10/tennessee-church-welcomes-muslim-neighbors/

    September 11, 2010 at 1:20 am |
  5. Iqbal khan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZNTjoZdVn8&w=640&h=390]

    September 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  6. MarBeth Farrell

    As a regular reader of Karen's Blog, her call for photos and cards expressing love, tolerance and peace, as a group effort .to be mailed as a LOVE BOMB, totally appealed to me. The idea in action re awakened in me ,my lifelong belief that every small act we do,with Love,changes us,and changes the world. The act of responding to potential hate filled behavior, with hundreds of loving peaceful messages,connected me to an empowerment as I placed my photo in an envelope,taking a deep breathe and breathing out the anger and revulsion I felt listening to the speaker of this church on CNN. My next Breathe was filled with hope and love and belief and I pushed my envelope through the slit at our local post office.
    Today , came the news that the church would not carry out the burning.
    As I am typing this response , My heart is asking,where could the next love bomb be delivered?

    September 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  7. DaveinSC

    I am appalled that there was not more outcries when our flag was burned or when Bibles were burned. What most of you fail to see is it is this pastors right to burn this quran if he wants too. he is afforded that right by our constitution. If he were to burn a playboy magazine or newspaper, or even a Bible, it would not cause all this controversy. My question is why not? You can tell of this love and how we should tolerate trhis and that when the real truth is we do not have too. If we lwere to live in a utopia then maybe things would be different, but we don't. we live in a cruel world where things are not as they should be. I see where several hundred muslims gathered in the streets of new york to pray, blocking traffic. Now if a christian group was doing that they would have been removed from the street. Where does religious equality exist in that. You would hear all the arguements about seperation of church and state pop-up if that would have been a CHRISTIAN group doing that. WHY ? Until the muslim world works out thier own internal problems, as there is unrest between factions within thier religion, things are not going to change for them. Until they control the extremist within the muslim world, peace will not come to them. As for the mosque in new york, the 1st amendment does grant religious freedom, but it does not guarrantee you will be able to build where ever you want too.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
    • Val

      Just because you're allowed to do something doesn't mean that you shouldn't use your ability to reason. Being allowed to do something doesn't automatically make it the right thing. And, nobody is saying that he's not allowed to have his ridiculous book burning. People are simply saying that it's a horrible thing to do, and that he should be ashamed to call himself a Christian while he's spearheading such a hate-filled event. You'll notice that no police have been sent to stop him. He hasn't been served with an injunction or a cease and desist order from the court. There hasn't been a deployment of the National Guard to block him from what he wants to do. No one is arguing his right to behave like an animal, they're just saying that perhaps it's not the wisest way to behave, and that outrageous displays of disrespect and hatred are the wrong way to make his opinion known.

      Your examples of what you feel would happen if Christians prayed in the street is ridiculous. The government has protected the rights of Westboro Baptist Church to protest loudly outside the funerals of fallen soldiers. There are Christian prayer marches and vigils on a regular basis in this country, and no one gets shuffled off to the side or taken to jail. Praying in the street has absolutely nothing to do with the separation of Church and State. The Separation refers to the government not being allowed to tell Churches how to worship, and for Churches not to be able to interfere with how the Government imparts its laws.

      The Muslims in NY have just as much right to build their holy house FOUR BLOCKS AWAY from the WTC site as the business owner that saw fit to build and run a strip club directly across the street from ground zero. They aren't violating zoning laws, they have the appropriate money and permits filed with the city. They *have* the right to build, whether you like it or not.

      September 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  8. bill

    Go ahead and burn the Quran. Its a stupid comic book. We should all be reading the Kings James Version Bible.
    One day we will all die and wish we had been reading the bilbe. The word is God, God is the word. Jesus is the way, not Quran.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  9. Rachelscgt

    I have been a Christain for 20 years now. Burning a Quran is NOT the answer. This is WRONG! Is this truley Christ like? The answer is clear NO. What is one of the greatest commandments of all. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. This doesn't mean love your neighbor as long as he is a Christain. This is a call to love all. Christains need to rally up and show the true mind of Christ. I pray that Rev. Terry Jones will seek guidance from the Holy Spirit who was sent to teach and comfort. This pastor really needs to have spiritual eyes and understanding. Love is the Greatest gift God gave. This will certainly harm a lot of innocent people. Please pray for this pastor to have better wisdom of this.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • Thank you !

      a voice of a good Christian

      September 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  10. superparents2011

    awesome idea and a creative response!

    September 10, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  11. Sue

    This is a lovely response to a hateful situation. I wish more people would think like this. I think most people are appalled at the Koran burning plan but don't know how to express it.

    September 10, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  12. Dayna

    Oops. Darn iPhone. I mean, Kudos to Karen et al. !

    September 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  13. Dayna

    I didn't know about the photobomb until it had already been sent, but was touched deeply by the idea and ultimate action. Kudos to Karne and all the beautiful souls who responded with love to hate!

    September 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  14. ML

    Ok I don't understand this post. Where are the pictures? They are not on her blog. If they were instructed to email them directly, then how do you know teh response was "overwhelming"

    This article is very confusing!

    September 10, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Allison Zapata

      they were actual pictures that were snail mailed πŸ™‚

      September 10, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Jennifer

      And there is also an online campaign on twitter with the hashtag, #loveburnsbrighter.

      September 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • Jessica

      They were actual photographs that were mailed to Karen. She sent them to Florida in one large package.

      September 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  15. Dana

    I sat at the dining room table with my four young children one day in August and told them about the Chookooloonks' photobomb project. My oldest is only six, so I explained in simple terms, in a way I thought they'd understand and could easily apply to their own lives. I told them I had a "friend" who was angry because someone had been unkind and that my friend wanted to yell and rage but instead, she decided to fight hate with love. I told them about my friend's plan to fill a box with images of love and send it to the person who made her angry. I asked them to help my friend and over the next hour or so they used crayons and markers to make drawings that made them think of peace. Later, I asked my childrens' yoga teacher whether she wanted to get involved and she ran with the idea. She read the children books about peace. They "posed for peace" and talked about using breath to calm anger. They colored too. And we sent all of this – the kids' drawings and photos from class – to Karen for the photobomb. We were honored to be a part of the effort and hope that the beautiful images helped melt some steely hearts. My children and their friends' from the yoga class learned a lot. We hope the folks at the church in Florida did too.

    September 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Jenny, Bloggess

      I love this comment. I love this story.

      This is the kind of thing that makes me truly proud to be an American.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  16. Allison Zapata

    I have never been so proud to be a part of something. #loveburnsbrighter

    September 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  17. American Awareness

    how come the media is not telling muslims to NOT burn the flag, bibles and people?

    September 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • Jibril

      Because they would get beheaded quickly. They can only lecture us peaceful Americans

      September 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • DM

      This argument is so tiresome. We are supposed to be better than them. Isn't that WHY you're proud of being an American?

      September 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • Val

      Because the people burning the flag aren't Americans. Television in the Middle East doesn't allow images from Western news sources – particularly American news – so there is absolutely no point in chiding extremist Muslims for burning *anything*. They literally can't hear you. But there's plenty of reason to chide American who are behaving in a hateful, bigoted, inflammatory (no pun intended) fashion. The actions of that yee-haw and his church reflect not only on America as a whole, but also on Christian behavior across the nation. To allow his act of pure hatred to go by without a single voice raised in protest would indicate that we all agree with what he's doing. Like a child throwing a fit in the middle of a restaurant, it's our job to tell him that if he doesn't shape up and learn how to behave like an adult, then he's going to have to face the consequences.

      And also, is this sort of outright hatred what the Christian church actually stands for? Didn't Jesus teach that you should love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek when struck by your enemies, and that all the love you give your friends, you should give double to those who hate you? Where is the voice of the Christian in all of this? Why have I heard almost nothing from any Christian leaders saying "Hey! That guy isn't one of us!" It leads me to believe that he is very much one of them, and that they approve of what he's doing.

      September 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  18. Jessica

    We can only hope Pastor Jones and his congregation saw our images, read our messages and understood the peaceful intentions behind them. Many thanks to Karen for arranging this; so proud to have participated.

    September 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  19. Michael Douglas Jones

    I remember September 11, 2001 as vividly as the Kennedy assassination, and the first man on the moon. Yes, I am ancient, which is my point. You and I are ancient; each and all, we have been here forever. We were born of our mothers and fathers, yet we were always a part of them, and every generation before them. There is not a break in the lineage, when any of us appeared out of nowhere and became separate. We were always here. We are all children of the same ancient mother. All of us.

    I recently found a copy of my family tree dating back into the 1300’s, and looking over it, the entire idea of it seemed superficial, like viewing a giant sequoia tree from an inch away. My family tree is, as yours, a single tree of infinite branches and roots extending through the universes. If in my anger, I cut off a branch, I hurt you and me, and everyone that came before or after.

    As we remember 9/11, let us too remember that, even when we disagree with our sisters and brothers, they are still our family; they are doing the best that they know at this moment, as are we. They may have moved far away and taken on a few peculiar habits, but mom still loves them, so we should try to love them as well. I have often been called naΓ―ve and overly optimistic, and I agree that I am all that and more; after all, I am ancient.

    September 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • SomeTruth

      Lovely piece, Michael Douglas Jones. Thank you.

      Sometimes a "mom" needs to call a time-out when we are not getting along well.

      September 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  20. manila

    People had burned bibles in the past and there were no commotion compared to this quran burning...if we can burn bibles, flags, quran etc....and that is all ok as it is our right....and there is no double standard...the world will be more free and happy.

    September 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sue

      I think burning books and flags is silly at best and dangerous at worst. Learning to listen to and respect one another is the best response.

      September 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • Jibril

      Sue, would you say that to an angry Iranian mullah burning an American flag ? How long would you survive after that ?

      September 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.