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. angie

    since when did getting back at one another is ever ok? if u believe in karma then let it be...fate desides when and how u shall be punished not by other ppl!...and it not about american vs muslims bc there are muslim-americans living here.and its not about christians vs muslim...its crazy ppl like terry trying to ad fuel to the fire...the extremist can burn our flag,bible whatever but we should never ever give them the satisfaction by retaliating back...we must let them see that we are better then that...its not muslims who are our enemy but the terrorist..we are not barbaric ppl so we must not act so.dont give terry the attention he is seeking he is not patriotic or religous but a man who is deperate for attention and control...if anything i think he is a chaarles manson but with a bible...get it ? he is brainwashing others to join his crazy act.he doesnt even care if this burning of the quran will set a domino effect of violent acts across the world. so please dont be ignorant dont be disrepectful and dont listen or give terry the satisfaction.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robert C

    We as Americans should all be hanging our heads in shame right now. A perfectly innocent group of Americans want to build a perfectly innocent building on their own land and are being tormented by American Terrorists trying to intimidate them into moving. We are showing the world what intolerant hypocrites we are.

    These people and this building have NOTHING to do with the events of September 11th. It is disgraceful what they are being put through for no good reason except ignorance and hatred. What difference does it make if it is 2 blocks or 2 miles from ground zero, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEPTEMBER 11th. Many Christians have commited many attrocities in this country and around the world. Do we hold every Christian responsible for these acts and harrass every Christian that tries to build a church. Of course not.

    People have created a coralation between these people and September 11th that does not exist so they have a reason to harrass and terrorize innocent people.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. no one

    Why isn't it a national security issue in the countries that burn our flag and celebrate 9/11 as a victory?

    September 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dman

    It’s unfortunate that the masses Don't really take the time to read either the Koran or the Bible.

    If they had read more deeply the Bible warns that this will happen in the latter days and that God will call all of his faithful people out of Babylon or False Religion. Isn’t it clear by now to everyone that All of mans organized religions has failed to Grasp what was written in the Holy Scriptures.
    If God is Love then how can anyone calling themselves true followers of God act in any other way. Weather you’re Christian or Muslim. You are being tested right now and the true believers will lead by example as Christ and many other martyrs on both sides did.

    Is it possible that we will have to leave Mans organized religion and start acknowledging God in the Spirit only as was intended? Or will we continue to stay in darkness simply because we are afraid to open up the book and start reading the words and deeds of his Son Jesus Christ.
    Never have I found any word ever spoken even in rebuke that did not also offer guidance and forgiveness.
    Everyone should remember that it is not the Book Itself that is important but the message within.
    Burn as many as you want to, but if the message within is truly holy then all the burning in the world will not stop the Truth.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    There will never be peace as long as books like this exist and sew seeds of hate into the world.
    “SHAKIR: O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (5:51

    September 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Patricia A Lewis

    Guess this jerk finally got enough publicity, strange he never mentioned the Mosque before. Sounds like he needed a way out. What a waste of skin.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. danny in toronto

    Makes me sick to my stomach the way people act. Human's seem to be the perfect creation... until they open their mouthes. People arguing over religions, and putting down religions. You people obviously don't understand religion. What makes you any different than the people your fighting or arguing. Just ignorence. That, will be on you.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tracy Newman

    Let him do it, Let him do it, Let him do it....I am a proud muslim and I really want him to do it...of course I would like him to have some b@ll$ and do it in Afghanistan or Iran not here in the safe heaven of his church front yard...let him do it.And to all the muslims on this forum who are using American names and claiming to be christians or jews: stop being defensives, it doesn't work to defend yourself when you are dealing with a bunch of boar's heads, prejudice idiots who mostly watch the local channels and listen to Sarah Palin speeches ...the idiots who doesn't know the fiscal and economical damage that may follow. And FYI, the middle East is on of very fewwwwwww territories that's still buying American products, let's offend them...let's the gas price goes higher, let's the economy gets worst, so we can have more jobless people excersing their freedom of speech.....Maybe then,the arab rag heads leaders will realize what really the US christians/catholic/jews/senators/governors think of them, maybe then they will realize that there is something called China Market

    September 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cj

    I think this is all a trick. I dont think that the Mosque will be moved, why is it the only day he is free on Saturday the 9th anniversity of 9/11? And their flying up there together. Yeah, sounds very weird to me. No replies. Speaking my opinion!

    September 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paddy Dunne

    I love seeing all this discussion – so much information and opinion spreading and propagating through this form of communication(comment Boards) – good will eventually come from all this – KEEP ENGAGED – keep expressing opinions – keep reading and studying others. Bottom line here is that there is Good and Evil – Knowledge and Ignorance – they exists independent of geography, culture, race and religion – when you see evil fight it and deny it quarter – The light must prevail.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jay

    This is easily solveable. Let him burn what ever he wants to burn. The real way to not have this have impact is for the insipid and rabid media to just not cover it. Not by police action, but by common sense, just don't go there with your camera trucks and talking heads. That's what he desires more than the ashes he will create....

    September 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jay

    I also find humor in the reaction of the muslims who are for once powerless to stop one man in a backwater town in Florida from performing a stupid act. But then again, your religion has foisted so much stupidity in the name of God that I don't expect any different reaction. A man burns a book, you knock down builidings and kill innocents, someone calls you a bad name, you blow up nightclubs with people in them, you wonder and rail against stupid americans that don't want a mosque in the same neighborhood as the most violent of terror acts that ever occured.
    All those peaceful Muslims that denounce the violence.. right.. you allow it by proxy and your quran tells you to do so with impunity. "Speak well to your authorities, even if nonbelievers, but hold animus and hatred in your hearts against them until you can strike", may not be word for word, but its there in YOUR book. Until you realize that Americans of all stripes are sick and tired of you, and that your religion in reality keeps you in the dark ages, nothing that is said will make any difference anyway.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jumdai

    Completely disregarding any political, philosophical, or radical reactions, the bottom line is this is free speech. While I think this guy is really just trying to hype his own cause, I don't see any valid reason our government can stop him. This is one of the down sides of free speech, much like having to allow KKK to march. This is the cost of giving liberty and free speech to all in the U.S. We definitely shouldn't cow-tow to radicals by changing our rights.

    Having said that, I agree with an earlier poster in that the best way to avoid a lot of confrontation is to not cover it. Just like it's the preacher's right to do something selfish and stupid, it's on the news reporters to choose to cover it. In the end, it's unlikely everyone will do the "right thing" so that preacher will become a target, radical islamic groups get another fan for the fire, and the US will just have to deal with it.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Q.T

    All over burning books. 🙂 What a world i live in.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    Just watching Suzanne Malveaux.....Total shame on CNN and the Media....hours of inflammatory gossip.....the Media is murdering America. Just that simple. Malveauex even tried to twist this angrily into a questions: "What does this say about the Obamba Administration's ability to handle something like this?" CNN and all of the other Media: Sit down and examine yourselves. YOU did this and YOU just keep it going. Hours of speculation...dangerous speculation. Idiots and lunatics, glamorized. You are a pawn feeding chaos. And you are making America ungovernable. And WE are getting sick and tired of it. Suzanne should resign after this, or be fired. You all better have a conference and either mature or quit.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
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