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. Joe

    For the last 80 years we were getting cheap oil and didn't think twice about Islam. Things were nice and dandy.

    Then we started mess in Middle East. All of a sudden 70% of Americans hate Muslims.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dan Kirk

    Unbelievable breaking news. No Quran burning. NY Mosque will be moved.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carolyn Reuther

    WHY DO OUR MUSLIM BRETHREN THINK THAT THIS POOR DELUSIONED SOUL IS THE SPOKESMAN FOR ALL OF CHRISTIANITY? WHY?

    TERRY JONES DOES NOT BELONG TO MAINSTREAM FAITH BUT INSTEAD WANTS TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION AT "HIS" CHURCH AND THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY. THIS IS NOT MY OPINION BUT THAT OF THE CHURCH THAT DISMISSED HIM IN GERMANY!

    SO ALL THE WONDERFUL FRIENDSHIPS, TALKS, CONFERENCES AND UNDERSTANDINGS BETWEEN THE ABRAHAMIC FAITH AND OTHERS GO OUT THE DOOR WITH THE CRAZED ACTIONS OF THIS LUNATIC? WHY?

    A NUMBER OF OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE ASKED TERRY JONES NOT TO BURN KORANS FOR THE GOOD OF OUR COUNTRY AND FOR THE GOOD OF ALL. IT WILL PUT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS IN HARM'S WAY WITH NO GOOD OUTCOME OR BENEFIT. IS TERRY JONES NOT WORTHY OF BEING CHARGED WITH TREASON???

    PERHAPS OUR ONLY HOPE IS IF HE INCITES A RIOT PRIOR TO ATTEMPTING TO BURN THE KORANS HE WILL BE ARRESTED!

    BY THE WAY, HE COULD NOT HAVE READ THE KORAN BECAUSE HE WOULD SEE THE REFERENCES TO CHRISTIANITY. THE BLESSED VIRGIN MOTHER IS HIGHLY REVERED BY THE MUSLIMS. i AM GOING TO PRAY THAT GOD WILL LET HER INTERVENE.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • John B

      They don't care WHO burns it....it could be anyone. They just want yet another reason to hate non Muslims and to kill Americans and Christians.

      September 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gt

    religion is the root of the moajority of all bad things in the world. period.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. eric

    That pastor better burn those nasty qurans! I think the world has kissed enough muslim a s s!

    September 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. t tran

    Wait I just thought of something. Perhaps he is a terrorist. His actions pretty much will amount to lost of lives . Let us arrest this terrorist.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rob

    They burn our flag(s) or epitaphs of our leaders/people , they attack Jews, Christians, and all non Muslims a like for not following their beliefs, they oppress their own people and keep them stuck living in almost medieval times did we ever cry out and say their actions would irreparably damage our relations? Did we vow to kill their people if they burnt a symbol of our nation, leaders, or religion...no we didn't so how then can these arabs even attempt to claim they are victims.

    If anything we have tolerated Islam long enough and time and time again muslims around the world have shown Islam is anything but a religion of peace and that moderate muslims will do absolutely nothing to stop their extremist brethren. I say to hell with what the arabs say, why should we be the ones having to appease them when they don't do a thing to stop extremism against us.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. OFIR

    ITS ASTONISHING TO ME THAT THE IMAM FAISAL TRYING TO SELL US THE STORY OF INTERFAITH MOSQUE , IT'S A TOTAL BOGUS LIE AND UNACCEPTABLE IN MUSLIMS RELIGION EVERYONE KNOWS THAT , THIS IMAM SHOWED LAST NIGHT THAT THERE IS NO LEGITIMACY FOR A MOSQUE ,AND WHAT EVERYONE SAW BEFORE HE WAS INTERVIEWED THAT THE WAY HE SAY THINGS USED FEAR AND INTIMIDATION ELEMENT , I'M JUST THINKING I HOPE THE AMERICANS STILL OWN NY , FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND FROM HIS INTERVIEW LOOKS LIKE THE MOSQUE HAS TO GO UP AT ANY PRICE ,, MAKES ME WONDER,,, NO JEW WILL PRAY IN A MOSQUE AND NO CHRISTIAN WILL , THAT'S ALL BULL... ALSO BURNING QURAN IS LIKE BURNING US FLAGS OR OTHER COUNTIES FLAGS WHICH THE EXTREMISTS DO EVERYDAY ALL OVER THE WORLD ,, I'M NOT IMPRESSED BY THE ACT IS'T STUPID BUT THE EXTREMISTS ALWAYS FINDS "REASON"TO JUSTIFY CRIME AND TERROR, AND USA SHOULD NEVER SHOW ANY SIGNS OF FEAR TO THE EXTREMISTS AND THE WORLD , EXTREMIST I AND FISAL THE IMAM ALREADY CAME SHORT HANDED AND HAS NO MORE CARDS TO PLAY US, THE MOST DISTURBING IS THAT HE SAID IT'S NATIONAL SCURITY ,DID HE MENT THAT US SHOULD FEAR ? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 71% WHO APPOSE THAT MOSQUE , IS DEMOCRACY STILL LIVES HERE?

    September 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. eric

    All 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 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. OFIR

    S ASTONISHING TO ME THAT THE IMAM FAISAL TRYING TO SELL US THE STORY OF INTERFAITH MOSQUE , IT'S A TOTAL BOGUS LIE AND UNACCEPTABLE IN MUSLIMS RELIGION EVERYONE KNOWS THAT , THIS IMAM SHOWED LAST NIGHT THAT THERE IS NO LEGITIMACY FOR A MOSQUE ,AND WHAT EVERYONE SAW BEFORE HE WAS INTERVIEWED THAT THE WAY HE SAY THINGS USED FEAR AND INTIMIDATION ELEMENT , I'M JUST THINKING I HOPE THE AMERICANS STILL OWN NY , FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND FROM HIS INTERVIEW LOOKS LIKE THE MOSQUE HAS TO GO UP AT ANY PRICE ,, MAKES ME WONDER,,, NO JEW WILL PRAY IN A MOSQUE AND NO CHRISTIAN WILL , THAT'S ALL BULL... ALSO BURNING QURAN IS LIKE BURNING US FLAGS OR OTHER COUNTIES FLAGS WHICH THE EXTREMISTS DO EVERYDAY ALL OVER THE WORLD ,, I'M NOT IMPRESSED BY THE ACT IS'T STUPID BUT THE EXTREMISTS ALWAYS FINDS "REASON"TO JUSTIFY CRIME AND TERROR, AND USA SHOULD NEVER SHOW ANY SIGNS OF FEAR TO THE EXTREMISTS AND THE WORLD , EXTREMISTS AND FISAL THE IMAM ALREADY CAME SHORT HANDED AND HAS NO MORE CARDS TO PLAY US, THE MOST DISTURBING IS THAT HE SAID IT'S NATIONAL SCURITY ,DID HE MENT THAT US SHOULD FEAR ? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 71% WHO APPOSE THAT MOSQUE , IS DEMOCRACY STILL LIVES HERE?

    September 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dru

    Every "moral" "pious" and "god fearing" christian that supports this or denounces the islamic center in ny makes me sick to my soul, as a member of the catholic church and life long republican even I have an extremely hard time in finding any sense in your support of this, one comment says " people don't like the religion of islam because they are angry and violent, christians can be angry but not violent" need I remind you of the atrocities of the crusades? Or of all the racial and ethnic intolorance and violence of the kkk and the neo nazis so to my fellow christans I say this continue to cast the first stone it is the lightest by all means for the last stone will not be ours to cast and it shall be far heavier, these actions within the house of god and with in the hearts and minds of his people are a plegue to his word and a sign that the beast walks among us in sheeps clothing

    September 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan Kirk

    Check out my 5:06 post and if you don't believe me, check the news.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan Kirk

    Pastor called off burning. Check the news!!!!!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leat

    This is really really ridiculous. I blame the news for it. There will always be ignorant people in the world doing crazy things, but do I really need to know about them? Not this time. I'm betting you there will be tons of copycats on 9/11 doing the same thing. I'm Christian, been one my entire life. I am really not getting all this hate on Muslims. I know several Muslims who are normal people just trying to make a living for their family, are nice people and have no plan to attack anybody. They don't hate Christians, but they are bothered by all the hate on them. Frankly I'm very sick of it myself.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Asim

    One pastor with 50 church members is enough for muslim world to paint all americans with the same brush and target all americans and christians. And the President and a lot of americans agree with that. so many muslim terrorist groups and big percentage of radicals, but you still can't blame islam and its followers?

    September 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
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