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. hassan

    FIRST OF ALL JESUS MOSES AND ALL CHRISTIANS LEADERS ARE MENTION IN THE QURAN SO PLZ PEOPLE STOP BEING HARD HEADED AND READ THE QURAN I BET YOU WILL CRY WHILE YOU READING IT.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jolene chowdhury

    So much ignorance! We're gonna damn the whole religion based on some wackos!!! One would assume that a fellow high a prestigious stature would have some education. Reminds me of the unforgivable crimes we did to the native Indians and blacks.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. The Voice of Reason

    Must admit we have all committed atrocities at some point in our histories, and yes, we all have parts in our scriptures that condemn other religions to some degree. However, I do not believe, or know of any that can be found in the New Testament- please correct me if I am wrong. Also, if there is a religion out there that is an established faith, that in no way, condemns another religion to any degree- please let me know- you may have a convert. The original point I am trying to make is, that in the Qu'ran, there are some very disturbing, and radical scriptures. From what I have seen, it boils down to, "Do whatever it takes to turn the world Islamic". This includes lying, along with violent take-over, and killing. This is in Islamic scripture! And that is what disturbs most people! I will not say that other faiths have never used the same tactics as what is being advocated in Islamic scripture- which is a possible reason why it was adopted to begin with- but I will say that I don't believe lying is promoted to such a degree in other religions. Again- correct me if I am wrong. The mere fact that anyone would openly admit that they would lie to you, to convert you, might be admirable to some, but it makes me reconsider the honesty of any other parts of this doctrine. How do I know everything else it claims is not a lie? How many times in our history has some group claimed to come in peace, using this as the stepping-stone for conquest? I believe in religious freedom, and freedom of speech; however, I also believe there are limitations to all our rights: especially when they infringe on the rights of others. Are we to follow the exception, or the rule? For too long, we have allowed the exception to become the rule, because we are blind slaves to the almighty dollar, or have blindly allowed our own rights to be used to take these same rights away from us. Will we ever learn?

    September 10, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Deb

    Please join in our protest...http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112898932101937&index=1
    In peaceful protest to the proposed burning of the Qu'ran by radical pastor Terry Jones, we invite you to join us, wherever you may be, in the burning of marshmallows. This act, which is meant to take your eyes away from the media spectacle that is going on in Gainesville Florida, is a happy, peaceful, joyful way of letting the media know that if they didn't provide him with all of this attention, no one outside of his tiny little flock would ever have heard of him.
    Burn a marshmallow! Don't take your eyes off of it !! Don't watch the news!!! Let's show the media that we're tired of the hype given to people like this.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. J P McLean

    I would suggest the media stop covering the outrageous actions of Dove World. Without publicity this senseless act would be a non-event. “Reverend” Terry Jones is a publicity seeker of the first order. If no one were to show up to cover his antics, the inflammatory shenanigans would stop. Removing the television trucks and not reporting the events is the best way to eliminate the possibility of protest, reprisals and possible harm to people around the world.

    Please do not report anything about Dove World, the Quran burning or “Reverend” Terry Jones.

    J P

    September 10, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. ***

    This Imam guy comes across like a terrorist to me. The way he did this was truly sinister and I don't believe for a second that he didn't know what he was doing. I also wonder why someone in our government would have a job that has anything to do with religious anything? People usually do that stuff on the side. Especially religion. Even if it was the Y, our government doesn't hire people that promote Christianity through the Y. This guy got a job somehow...that doesn't make any sense. Why is he there? Is he some type of plant to start WWIII or something?

    September 10, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. ***

    Why does our government make special cases for Islam/Muslims/Jewish people like that? Why isn't church and State separate, and who hired this guy? How do these people get into our government and get us into the things they get us into, but can't get us out of?

    We have had Arab folks here for probably over 30 years. They built a mosque a few years back. This Imam took this to a national security threat. Fire the guy. He's not good at this.

    September 10, 2010 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
    • ***

      We also have Jewish people here. This guy needs to be fired for the trauma that he is bringing on the whole world. He may love that, but it's dumb, and self absorbed. Are they just trying to scare everyone so they can get money out of us for security cameras and such? This is dumb.

      September 10, 2010 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. carchopper

    I think this whole ordeal with burning the quran/koran and the following protests and destructive behavior of Muslims is just rediculous. It just shows how far behind current times these finatical religious people are.
    Its so nice to live in a nation that offers freedom of speech and religion. If this was the western civilzation anywhere from the dawn of religion to early 20th century and a person even gave hint that they were to burn or disgrace any religous material they would be immediatly burned at the stake , impaled, thrown to the wolves, or in the Middle East's case, stoned to death in front of a blood thirsty audience.
    As a peaceful nation we have evolved and grown to become tolerant of everyones beliefs. Majority of these 3rd -World countries are like mindless sheep that are forced to follow their political leaders beliefs. It should be these leaders that set an example to their nation. Instead of picking up their torches and pitchforks and heading to the nearest Christian establishment, they should do what their holy book reads. Pray and forgive for insults from "JEED,' all will answer for their actions in their after life.

    If you take it upon yourself to punish the "wicked", then you yourself is playing the part of GOD. In a sense that is defying all aspects of your religion, and the word of God.

    I LOVE BEING AN AMERICAN!

    September 10, 2010 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. jayman419

    Look up Virginia v. Black. There is no evidence that this pastor's intentions are intimidation. He is not doing it near a mosque or a community center or whatever they call their holy places these days, he is not doing it outside muslim homes, he is not doing it near places where muslims gather.

    What ever happened to "I disagree with what you want to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it"? I guess that's a lot easier when you agree with what's being said.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. MB

    As Christians, WHY would we burn ANYONE'S BIBLE? There are extremists in ALL religions. The Bible and the Quran both speak of peace and tolerance. This pastor is seeking the media spot light. YES, it is his right to speak his mind (my son did 2 tours in Iraq to protect that right), but it also MY right NOT to listen to him and to hit the off button on the television.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    Wake up, America. It's CNN that has attacked us, knowingly and willfully. We can't defeat the terrorists now because they have CNN on their side. The question is: WHY?

    September 10, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    CNN: GUILTY AS CHARGED. We, as Americans, have to ask ourselves WHY CNN chose to explode this story on the World. CNN found a tiny little lunatic in Florida, and managed to perhaps pull the trigger on Armageddon. The man in the street could have told anyone what the consequences would be. And yet, CNN knowingly elected to use this idiot’s activities to push the plunger on an extremely predictable firestorm. This was not done by CNN in the name of “free speech”. This was not by CNN in the name of “freedom of the press”. This was done by CNN with full knowledge of the consequences.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    Has any one bothered to do a background check on this so called pastor. Who is he, what are his affiliations. Come'on CNN, don't let him get away with this!

    September 10, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff

    . CNN is acting like a conspirator with terrorism. Think about it. These are not wild allegations. These are just obvious observations. CNN is providing aid to and abetting terrorism. CNN has placed many, many lives in great danger, not just the lives of our service men and women, but Americans all over the globe, wherever they might be. CNN is continuing to splash pictures of hate and intolerance all over the international scene, with constant chatter-babble, 24/7.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    CNN has intentionally challenged the American government and governments all over the world to respond. CNN has knowingly and willfully done this, with full knowledge of the consequences. CNN has honestly and truly ATTACKED America. This is just a simple but horrific fact.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
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