September 9th, 2010
03:34 PM ET

Quran burning reaction pours in from around the world

[Updated 4:59 p.m.] Increasingly earnest reaction poured in at home and around the world Thursday to a pastor's plans to burn copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, on Saturday. The Rev. Terry Jones, the head of a small church in Gainesville, said he will go ahead with plans to burn Qurans on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. The statements in reaction received so far are as follows:

The statements in reaction received so far are as follows:

- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said, "While I
will defend any American's First Amendment rights, our generals in the field
tell us that the men and women defending those rights would be endangered as a  result of this stunt. If this group insists on going forward, I would hope that members of the media will not reward them with what they crave most: news coverage."

- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who said he has been in touch with the
church, said, "I think common decency would dictate that this would not occur  and that we would be respectful and are a respectful people of all religions."  He said there was little he could do to stop the burning because of the First Amendment.

- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he is "deeply disturbed" by reports about the plan. "Such actions cannot be condoned by any religion," he said. "They contradict the efforts of the United Nations, and many people around the world, to promote tolerance, intercultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions. ... I sincerely hope that they will not take such unacceptable actions."

- A spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan tells CNN: "If in Florida they were to burn the Quran, we will target any Christians, even if they are innocent, because the Quran is our holy book and we do not want someone to burnour holy book."

- A senior Iranian Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani, condemned the plan to burn the Quran and calling for the arrest of Jones, head of the Dove World Outreach Center, according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency. Should such an "inhumane incident take place in America, the U.S. government and President [Barack] Obama will be held responsible," he said, according to the report.

- Interpol, the international police organization, warned of "tragic consequences" that "may well claim the lives of many innocent people" if the burning goes ahead. Secretary General Ronald Noble said September 11 should be a day to fight terrorism, not a day to "engage in provocative acts that will give terrorists propaganda" to recruit others to their cause.

- British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he hoped Jones would refrain from carrying out the burning, and he pointed out Muslims are about to celebrate Eid, the end of their holy month of Ramadan. "To seek to mar it in this calculated way would be selfish and provocative in the extreme," Hague said.

- Sajjad Karim, a Muslim and British member of the European Parliament, told the chamber Thursday that the Quran burning "is the act of one man and his followers alone. His actions should not be identified with the West or Christianity. Muslims globally must know that, through this Quran burning, this man will achieve nothing. He has been isolated in his country and his religion. It is only through a reaction that any perverse sense of achievement can be earned."

- U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, urged Jones against the burning in a posting on his Twitter page Thursday. "Pastor Jones' threats to burn the Quran will put American service men/women in danger – for their sake please don't do it!"

- Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris Grand Mosque and France's most important spokesman for the Muslim community, urged Muslims to respond "wisely" to the burning and "not to fall into the trap of provocation."

- Bernard Valero, spokesman for France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, "This incitement to hatred is unacceptable and can only reinforce all forms of extremism. It is also an insult to the memory of the victims of September 11 and also to all the other victims of terrorist acts motivated by intolerance and the abuse of religion."

- The U.S. Embassy in London said Washington is "deeply concerned about all deliberate attempts to offend members of any religious or ethnic group" and condemned such acts as "unrepresentative of American values." While the embassy said it believes firmly in freedom of religion and freedom of expression, "we reaffirm our position that the deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act."

- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says the burning could be used by extremists to carry out more violence. He spoke after meeting with the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd Austin, and U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey. "If it does take place, it will inflict the most severe damage to inter-faith relations and human and cultural dialogue and will be used as a pretext by extremists for more killings and retaliatory killing," al-Maliki said.

- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed grave concern over the threats to burn copies of the Quran. According to spokesman Farhatullah Babar, Zardari said anyone who even thought of such a despicable act must be suffering from a diseased mind and a sickly soul. He said it will inflame sentiments among Muslims throughout the world and cause irreparable damage to interfaith harmony and world peace. Zardari called for doing all it takes to stop such a "senseless and outrageous act."

- Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik called on Interpol, the international police organization, to stop the church from carrying out the burning, which he called a "crime against humanity." Malik said the burning would be an international crime because it will affect "international peace and harmony."

- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to stop the Quran burning, which he called a "hideous act." A presidential spokesman said Indonesia is concerned the burning will incite hardline Muslims in Indonesia and around the world.

- A hardline Indonesian Muslim group, the Islamic Defenders Front, told CNN it will protest the planned burning and will issue a death sentence on Rev. Terry Jones if he carries out his plan. "This is not a problem between Muslims and Christians but rather between Terry Jones and mankind," said Sabri Lubis, a secretary general with the group.

- The Vatican implored the church Wednesday not to burn the Quran, saying it would be an "outrageous and grave gesture."

- The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki, also expressed concern Wednesday, saying the burning will "lead to uncontrollable reactions" and spark tension worldwide.

- The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, warned earlier this week that the plan "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.

- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group, plans to hold a news conference in Washington on Thursday to address the issue. The group's "Learn, Don't Burn" initiative includes the distribution of of 200,000 Qurans and other activities planned for Friday and Saturday, the planned date of the burning.

- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the right of the church's pastor, Terry Jones, to go ahead with the plan, even though he condemns the idea as "distasteful." Bloomberg said this week, "The First Amendment protects everybody, and you can't say that we are going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement," Bloomberg said, citing the section of the Constitution that promises freedom of speech.

- The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting U.S. troops from religious intolerance, has promised to buy one new Quran and donate it to the Afghan National Army for each one burned in Florida.

- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Quran burning would be a "disrespectful, disgraceful act."

- Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin urged Jones on Wednesday to halt his plans, saying the burning "will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. Don't feed that fire."

- The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan condemned it as "disrespectful, intolerant and divisive," in a statement on Wednesday. "We are deeply concerned about all deliberate attempts to offend members of any religious or ethnic group," said Stephen Engelken, the second-ranking diplomat at the embassy.

- The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday issued a statement saying the U.S. government "in no way condones such acts of disrespect against the religion of Islam, and is deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups." It said it condemned the "offensive initiative" by the Florida church.

- The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, issued a joint statement with Lloyd Austin, the commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq, to condemn the act.

- Lebanese President Michel Suleiman denounced the Quran burning as "contrary to the teachings of tolerant divine religions and totally incompatible with the logic of dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures." He noted that a United Nations conference on religious tolerance two years ago called on people "to renounce hatred and intolerance and terrorism," and "to reflect on the Christian teachings and concepts of humanity that emphasizes the love and respect for the other."

- Muhammad Ismail, a spokesman for the hardline Indonesian Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir, said earlier this week, "The burning is not only an insult to the holy Quran, but an insult to Islam and Muslims around the world."

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Filed under: Islam • Religion
soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. ray C

    This event being fueled by the Media, can be completly derailed and turned into a non event.
    The Media can extinguish this most ignorant and hateful event that will lead to just more violence and more hate.
    If the Media, all Media, print,video,Photo etc. not cover any part of this, leave the little town of Gainsville, before the burning.
    If it is not reported who will listen, just as the Media has promoted this single person act of ignorance, it has the power to shut it down and make it a None Event. Would the editors and owners take a stand against ignorant and hateful messages to the World, The Media created this Firestorm, they can smother the evil that will come of this

    September 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. buttapcantan

    I think that pastor should not burn the books. i dont believe that God told him 2 burn those books. even though they the muslims have their own religion and they believe in what they believe, God made them as well as he made us. pastor jones just want sum attention. i do not agree with them putting a worship building next to ground zero but this is the united states. they came over here to be free. i think the only thing that will come out this situation is our troops that are overseas will be affected. if u are a pastor, u would not be doing and saying things like that. if anything pastors should only teach the word of the holy bible and worrying about saving his own soul to get to heaven.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Curious

    I must admit that the general reaction is one inspired by fear. I'm a firm believer in the freedom of speech and I believe in tolerating everything except intolerance. This guy is obviously intolerant, but freedom of speech dictates that he be allowed to spread his intolerance. It's a tough call. In my book he's in the same boat with all the extremists. All that being said you have to take a bit of pride and not show fear. I admit that putting our troops at risk is idiotic, but at the same time, it's a war. I doubt that to an extremist this would make them want to kill our troops any more, or any less. This whole conflict is idiotic and just goes to show that organised religion is an unnecessary evil.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zaki

    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
    curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
    them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That
    ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven...
    (Matthew 5:44-45)

    September 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nikita

    The world is speaking up, countries are outraged and condemned the burning of the Quran!! Yet, I did not see or read such an outrage and support from Muslim countries when we got hit on 9/11!!!! At the contrary!! When they burn the American flag and burn our Bible, hack our men/women in pieces, like butchers that they are......what is our reaction?? We are lambs and they are wolves!! it is time to wake up and smell the coffee!!! React instead of rolling over like cowards! We try to resolve our affairs with diplomacy and fairness.... but they don't understand those words! !!! If they hurt us, we simply need to hurt them 100 times harder!!! I am sick and tired of being politically correct!!! They are over sensitive and YES they are very much different than any other religion in the world!! They are the ONLY pain in the behind in this world!! God bless America and all in this world that are our true brothers and sisters!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      The Muslim world needs to see the difference between burning a few Qurans and 9/11. That seems to be lacking.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ayush

    It is not freedom of speech or actions if it endangers our soldiers and us.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      American soldiers are already in harms way.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mapper99

    Mapper99 Take a look at Terry's church via Google Street View – streetviewfunny . com – It looks like Google trespassed on his property!

    September 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Talha

    Nikita, I have never seen a white woman being butchered when she visits my country. I treat her with the utmost hospitality... However I have had at least 10 close friends, relatives and other relations mutilated in terrorist attacks on mosques. Can you explain why a Muslim fundamentalist would blow up a mosque?

    September 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Artemisios

    How can a pastor of two dozen illiterates in rural Florida shape American policy? The fact is, if he were given the news coverage he deserves, no one would know or care about him. Instead, the "yellow press" is once again in action, just as it was when it started the Spanish-American War. The new 24/7 cable "yellow journalists" are set on sparking a major international catastrophe for the sake of ratings, which will put them into a better position to sell junk. Ask Anderson Cooper how he'll wash the blood off his hands.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Maury

    Burn that book and all the stinking muslims with it.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Talha

    Fosmic, I'm a Muslim mate and the "taliban" have killed a lot of my relations in terrorist attacks on mosques!!!!!!!!!! Does that prove that all Muslims should burn and die?

    September 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. appalled

    this minister doesn't seem to realize he is trying to fight hate with hate –
    not a good rolemodel for a religious leader and a great example of hippocracy.
    I am completely against the burning (as thankfully it seems most people are)

    September 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. asd80

    CNN, you are the problem. 50 years ago, no one would have heard about this idiot. He's just looking to get attention so what do you do? Give it to him of course. I'm sure there have been plently of bible burnings all over the world but we don't hear about those. No, this is more important. What a joke you guys have been become.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. anon

    What not burn Rev. Terry Jones on a cross, while holding his Bible? Or maybe we should burn some Bibles?

    September 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mary Schelle

    This weirdo is only trying for attention, and he is surely getting it from all the news people, not just CNN. Don't report on it and you take away his soap box. Better yet, don't report on it and send the cops out to get him for burning in public.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
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