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. M..

    Its really appalling to read all these comments. If you put the amount of energy that you put into hating into getting yourselves educationally empowered, then maybe you wouldn't be that narrow minded. I am a Muslim, yeah I'm not ashamed. I'm a teenager, I'm not naïve. The fact that you label us all as terrorists is really sickening. You pretty much blaming the actions of a handful of extremists onto approx 1.5 billion people. Our prophet was a man of peace, so judge our religion on the actions of him. Do you hate Mike Tyson? Well he's a muslim, is he planning to kill you all? Its time to wake up, you all hate us and I am wondering if you personally know ANY muslims? Whoever thinks this way, is highly prejudiced. Media will feed you with stories that sell, stories of horror sell better than those of peace. We have been oppressed, we still are being oppressed, Muslims are being killed daily in Palestine and other parts of the world! But you hesitate to notice that! These are kids being used as human shields. I've got Jewish friends, I've got christian friends, do I hate them for the actions of their people? Ofcourse not. I really do advise that you all stop stereotyping and prejudicing muslims. And can you justify hating approx a 1/4 of the world population because of your ignorance???

    September 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave in Toronto

    I could not care less about any religous fool!
    But I do get a kick out of all the insane hysteria, and it makes great TV.
    So come on dubmies, BURN BABY BURN!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian in canada

    for years all religions have used fear for each other for many reasons through out the centuries. some to gain political power, regain "lost sheep", to even control populations of countries etc. Rev. Terry Jones to me is doing the same here! as religious tolerance gain in the world for each other and in some cases a decline in attendance for some happens! people will find anything to fire up the debate regardless of any back lash that might happen. i don't believe that that burning the Quarn will do anything except give people the reason to hurt or even kill people for religious belief! really are we as the HUMAN race really that petty. but i suppose this is no different than trying to stop a mosque from been build near ground zero! that mosque would show the world that we have the tolerance that we preach we have! i have to believe that is what the victims of 9/11 would want and not to use their tragedy as a excuse to kill, but use it for a a reason to heal and move pass ignorance and intolerance and become one people, one race, the human races!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bruce Rubin Tampa Fl


    September 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    CNN – Why are you still giving a VOICE to this lunatic? You lead the way to Armageddon. CNN – The Leader in Murder by Media – without any accountabiity. You hide behind the First Amendment! You started this. You continue this. You created this monster. Be proud tomorrow, Oh, CNN. Be very proud! You created Chaos for many reasons. You broadcast hate, lies, prejudice and treason! And you hide. Who made this decision to cover this idiot in Florida? We want to know and we want him, her or them to explain themselves. Why, Oh Mighty CNN? Come out of hiding, Oh Mighty CNN. Just look what you've done. Be proud! We, as Americans, are ashamed of you.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dora

    Imam says America is Sharia compliant. Do you understand that...what that means? Michigan already has 5 prayer calls a day for these people,,,,they are comtemplating allowing it to be broadcast by loud speakers.
    Read the article, an open letter to Imam

    Imam wrote a book, it is addressed in this letter,,wait till you see what it says.
    Wake up America....this is about protecting our country and our rights. Remember, the Muslims could not get to us anymore to easily. What better way then to infiltrate us by "peaceful" means?

    September 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dora

    I am against burning thier book, but I can't help remember how they danced in the streets when 9-11 happened, How a few weeks back, 4 people were shot and killed for having a bible in thier hands. To wrongs don't make a right. We can turn the other cheek, but when it comes to some things, we better watch out. Not about fear here, but fact. Read I mams book, and what he really said he was doing.

    What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America, which in Malaysia was published under the t-i-tl-e really intended: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. roy kahle

    The seed sown by Glen Beck are sprouting in a church in Florida.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. leslie

    I hope that whatever reaction he is looking for by burning the Quran he gets it directed right at him and NOT the American people. I hope people in other countries who see this crazy man showing hatred towards Muslims understand he acts as a single man , and if they feel the need to show there hatred back they need to center it towards him and his followers . This time the American people will NOT go to war to protect one man who has crazy thoughts of hatred.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kelly

    stop giving this guy attention that is all he is looking for and he's getting it. If he's putting our soldiers at risk i think that makes him a terrorist to. and as for everyone else listen to yourselves. We have our freedom and that's to true but is it going to continue to be that way when my kids grow up? Those men and women over there fighting are trying to make sure of that and they are in enough danger without some crooked pastor adding to it.
    As i was scrolling down i saw a comment directed to soldiers from a mike pretty much telling them to do their jobs and not to worry about it because they won't know the difference, well buddy until you are in their shoes you shouldn't be saying that!!!
    I'm not really sure what religious beliefs i have but i do believe in god and any holy book should be respected. I believe in having faith and not being filled with hate and that is what the true problem is this world is filled with hate just read these posts and you can see it.

    Please stop giving this guy publicity!!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Julie

    Burning a book – burn a flag – saw off a head, whatever. . You have got to dislike a Muslim like you've got to dislike a Nazi. The Pastor can burn all the books he wants. The media doesn't have to advertise it. The world can calm down now.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MrDetroit

    This is disgusting, the so called "pastor" needs to be shot out off the Planet. He typifies exactly what is wrong with America today, in that we allow idiots like this to scam attention for nothing worthwhile at all. He has no business getting involved in such matters by abusing a religion to justify an ignorant and arrogant perspective that dose NOT represent Real Americans in any way, shape or form. I say give amnesty to the first person who shoots his butt or burns down his "church, and the sooner the better.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bush whacked

    first and foremost lets all agree on the fact that its all bush's fault!

    hey mission accomplished!

    seroiously, all 3 religions are from the same place and the same people . everyone else converted at some point – wo why do we argue adn fight over it? islam, judiasm, christianity –
    these 3 religions are from the middle east and i say let them stay there.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. bush whacked

    stop killing innocents in iraq and afghanistan –

    if you mess with fire, you get burned. why stir up a hornet;s nest of 1.5 billion people?

    troops out of the middle east and corporations out of politics.

    who's with me?

    September 10, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rose

    I am speaking to you from the Middle East .. I condemn the burning of the Quran or any other book for that matter !! and I also condemn what Some Muslims are doing in the world – the terror in the name of God ..This is not right!! Also the tolerance for others in some countries is zero. In the gulf , you have no churches especially in Saudi Arabia.. I would like to see tolerance in the Muslim countries as well!!

    September 10, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
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