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. sherry

    The man that wants to burn the Koran.... Thank you, do not be afraid. It looks like this.... the flag has been burned in there country , our bibles, our music... their own children , their wives, they are extremist...stick up for our rights. All of you saying this man sould be stopped are crazy.. what in the He..... is wrong with you? They need to respect us as well, Who really cares? It is a book. for crying out loud ,get over it.

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

      do you want to burn up
      hell will be your destiny

      September 9, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mouhamed

    I have some words for those who are trying to burn the Koran.
    Do you have any idea what will happen when you do this, you do not have any idea.
    When a man tries to disobey his Creator burning of his books there is no one can guarantee what will happen.
    It is an insult to us all and not only Muslims but all religions.
    I expect that the war can not be stopped Do you want to actually engage in war is not inevitable.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • to Maha(extreme)Mad

      your crappy creator and his crappy book is just 14centuries old. They both are insignificant compare with trillions of planets and billion years of age. Burn Baby Burn

      September 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      What will happen? We are being told, burn the holy book and many people will die. Is that a proper response from the religion of tolerance and peace?

      September 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      muslims threaten violence at every turn! It's about time to take the gloves off and stop caring about muslims who hate the USA anyway!!!

      September 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Then why don't YOU, good muslim that you are, and your good brethern stop the violence, by god, by government, by will??? It will not happen because you wish it to continue. It's simple. Many Americans were born at night.. just not last night.

      September 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. a human

    For crying out loud people, its a book!!!...... paper and ink and there are millions opon millions of copies of it.

    If this guy likes burning books, let him, I mean really people there are much more important things to devote your attention to that this.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ALG

    We should all be reminded of the words attributed to Jesus is the Gospel of John: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone..." Considering the bloody history of religions, it is outrageous that Islam now gets singled out as a terrorist religion. Has Christianity been so innocent in its two-thousand-year history? Terry Jones is a lunatic fruitcake whose only talent has been to grab media attention not for his holy deeds but for his ability to incite hatred and prejudice. He is far closer to Hitler than to Jesus.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. guest

    Some of the most heinous crimes against humanity have been committed by Christians – the decimation of native populations in the Americas, enslavement of Africans, the Holocaust, Apartheid and more recently the genocide in Bosnia to name a few. And we are not even talking about the colonization of Asia and Africa and the consequent dehumanization of local populations.

    So to all the self-righteous Christians who see themselves as keepers of civilzation and call Muslims uncivilized, barbaric, or terrorists, take a good hard look at yourselves before you open you mouths. The bottomline is that human history is not pretty. It is full of conflict and violence, and there is no culture that can claim to be above it all. So let's take the happenings of 9/11 for what it is – the misguided actions of a few Muslims who obviously did not grasp the true meaning of the religion in whose name they killed several thousand innocent people. And let's take the actions of Pastor Jones for what it is – the lunacy of one individual. I don't think he speaks for Christianity any more than the 9/11 perpetrators speak for Islam.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. t tran

    I find it odd that everyone seems to condemn his planned action but no one is actually going there to stop it. I would find it funny if the flames from his fire consume all members of his group. Though I guess we could arrest him for intent of a crime. Last I checked arson is a crime.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. to Dhimmi Americans

    David Petraeus is right.
    That church burning the korans in Florida will incite muslims to kill Americans, particularly American soldiers.

    Why? Well, in part, because David Petraeus and the media have decided to magnify the event and guarantee it'll be featured on the front page of every major newspaper in the Middle East.

    Ramzy Kilic of the Council on American-Islamic Relations surprisingly sounds wisest here:

    "He just wants to provoke the Muslim community," he said. "Why give him attention? No one pays attention to the drunkard walking down the street."

    Let's not, however, be fooled by the thinking that this act will incite Islamists in some special way. If Islamists did not have koran burnings to incite them to kill Americans, they would just find something else. Heck, they may go back to soldiers in Iraq using the koran for target practice.

    I think it is bad form for the military to start applying pressure to influence the political activities (and this is clearly a form of political speech) of American civilians. Petraeus is essentially attributing direct responsibility for American deaths to the activities of American citizens (and I hasten to point out that he made no similar public pronouncement about the activities of antiwar demonstrators who, at least arguably, caused American deaths by giving the jihadis reason to believe they could drive us out of Iraq given enough casualties).

    Ultimately, this issue is not about tolerance of Islam, but about fear of Islam.

    The elite in this country have no problem with American flag burnings or Bible burnings. Heck, the American military burned a pile of Bibles lest proselytizing happen.

    No Christians went out and beheaded troops or media talking heads. There were no riots in the streets of Washington, D.C. by aggrieved Christians.

    Contrast that with the Islamic world. Show a cartoon of Mohammed, you die. Burn a koran, you die. Reject the faith, you die.

    Ultimately, and what is too politically incorrect for the media or David Petraeus to say, is that Islam is largely incompatible with Western values when significant portions of the religion - not just the fringe - are driven to riot over koran burnings, cartoons of Mohammed, and the like.

    More specifically, Petraeus's actions teach the same lesson to both us and the Islamists that the Mohammed cartoon did: Islamists learned if they are sufficiently violent Western governments and elites will fold like a cheap suit and we learned that Islam, as practiced by large swaths of the muslim world, is a violent religion that apparently can't operate in tandem with a civil society....
    [from JW]

    September 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      If church burning the korans in Florida will incite muslims to kill Americans, particularly American soldiers, it will show the true colors of the Islam religion.

      September 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Curious

    Basic psychology, the fight or flight response. If this sensationalist idiot would have gotten a response of lets say dignified disgust, or a reasonable condemnation from the general Muslim community, I would be one hundred procent against what he's doing. Threats and "you will see" responses however deserve a stance against. So for that reason alone I choose to fight. Just to be clear, I'm against any organised religion. If I'm threatened I choose to fight and not run away or bow to threats. It seems like the majority of politicians are taking the safe way out which makes sense for a true leader. I'm SHOCKED that Sara Palin spoke against the burning. I would have thought she would be bringing the lighter.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    I don't believe that this pastor should burn the Koran. I hope he doesn't. He comes across as a religious extremist himself, with the belief that those who don't follow his religion are wrong. However, there is a part of me that hopes he stops the moment before any books are burned and raises the following question: If the burning of the holy book is an affront to a peacful and loving religion which warrants global protests and condemnation by all those of muslim faith, why aren't there global protests each day that an extremist suicide bomber kills innocent civilians (including women and children) or soldiers abroad? In my mind, this is also a tremendous violation of their faith, an insult to their religious leader, and a damaging act as far as global perceptions of Islam are concerned. But...I haven't seen that yet.

    I'm hopeful that the pastor in Florida will do the right thing, but I'm not optimistic.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ZAR

    To Terry Jones: How sure are you that Muslims committed the 911 attacks? We are yet to resolve this issue. You may want to hold on to burning books yet ... with the unanswered questions which exists around the 911 story, we may end up burning our own bible.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Zebulon Pi

    Here's an idea, kids:

    Don't televise it. Don't report what he does, or doesn't do. Nothing.

    The ONLY reason this is a big deal is because the media and politicians MADE it a big deal. He's a preacher in a ramshackle church with 40 paritioners. Who CARES what this guy does? Honestly, he has been EMPOWERED by the media, and everyone working themselves up in a tissy, over STUPIDITY. Since when is being a moron news-worthy??

    Stop it! Right now!

    September 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Adam

    Some Arab leaders are saying the future of relations between the West and Islam will be irreparably damaged if this maniac goes through with buring the Quran. How can world peace hinge upon the actions of one insignificant man and his few followers, I just don't get it. The guy is a moron and a mental case and he now holds the fate of the world in his hands??? Give me a break.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. eric

    Tolerance is funny coming from a muslim! I like drawing mohammed {{:-o>> Could I do that in the mid east?

    September 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe - Utah

    I agree they should not burn theQuran because it is highly offensive to Muslims; however, I am also highly offended when Muslims:
    1) Attack my country with airplanes
    2) Burn my country's flag
    3) Build a monument to the 9/11 attack at ground zero NY
    4) Call for "death to America"
    5) Behead American prisioners
    6) Call all non-Muslims infidels
    7) Pratice Sharia law including stonings and whippings
    8) Oppress women
    9) Call for the death of anyone who offends them.
    10) I am offended that Muslims want this respect thing to only go one way – their way.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John B

    Well...he does have the right to burn the books. But should he do it from a moral standpoint? WOW THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR!!! Kind of like putting the Mosque near ground zero isn't it? Aside from that...this man should realize that burning the books WILL cause retribution to Christians and specifically American Christians...and he should guide himself accordingly. What point will he make by burning a book and then a hundred innocents are killed because of it? He needs to understand that he is dealing with COMPLETE FANATICAL LUNATICS that WANT him to burn it just so they can kill more people in the name of their religion.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
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