Burning the Quran would an "outrageous and grave gesture," the Vatican said Wednesday, joining a chorus of voices pleading with a small Florida church not to burn Islam's holy book on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The Vatican body responsible for dialogue with other religions said expressed "great concern" about the plan by Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it would be a "disrespectful, disgraceful act." She was speaking Tuesday night at a State Department dinner in honor of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Her statement came a day after the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, warned that the plan "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.
But the pastor of the Florida church, Terry Jones, has rebuffed pleas to call off the event, saying radical Islamists are the target of his message.