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. Walter

    Such outrage over a simple book, yet everyone cries freedom of speech when someone burns an American Flag. Will it cause violence? Yes. But is burning the books a problem, or is that burning them will cause violence a problem? The Islamic religion is archaic and outdated, and has no place in the 21st century in it's current form. It needs to either be updated or removed entirely.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • dfox2116

      i dont agree with the act of burning the book but it is his right to do so if he wishes. If muslims all over the world get their feelings hurt and commit violence in retaliation for this protest then the only thing they are doing is proving this guy's point that Islam is a violent and intolerant religion. furthermore if so called moderate muslims stood up against the crazy ones instead of being quite and giggling like school girls whenever a suicide bomber kills people then maybe more people would accept that not all muslims are the same.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Evangelist wendell

    k so now he is saying he is burning a book and not people, Mercy! do you have no understanding terry! its not the matial things that attack us, its the faul things that proceed out of mankinds heart! Jesus said himself, its not the things that goth in, but what comes out!! it wasnt the book that decided to bomb innocent people, it was a group of hatful people! which is no more than what the world is seeing in you! for the nine years we been fighting those who are against us that attacked us, some of us even died doing so to get us where we are today as a nation, i would rather honor those who gave their lives for peace, for freedom, for love. than to suffer the things that you will suffer for the rest of your life, in which i pray you find truth, and forgiveness, and peace none the less, Gods will be done.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • DKJ

      Religion is the core of all evil and most wars.
      Too bad we can't see each other as individual human beings & respect life & each other.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sceaser

    OK , I do believe that burning the Quran is not "PC" , but if I recall those CNN clips of Iraq and Afghanistan some of the peoples burning our flag.......... Its Just a book with ink on it , if it bugs you dont watch . Or go there , across the street and burn a new bibles see if you can get in to a book burning war ........see who wins .

    September 9, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. mike

    All this stuff over religion. Tke care of the world we live in and stop talking to and worshiping your imaginary friend u religous people should listen to bill mahr somtime

    September 9, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Ash

      Just because you don't believe anything doesn't mean the rest of us need to feel the same way. Religion builds hope and gives people someone to depend on. Religion is not to blame for the actions of humans. Humans choose to act the way they want to act.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David

    Anyone who is ignorant enough to think this will do anything but foster hatred and violence is an ignorant moron, including the pastor who decided this was a good idea in the first place As a soldier in Iraq, and having served there three other times, experience has taught me that the term "extremists" that he uses to apply to the entire Muslim world only apply to about 10% of it. What he is planning, and the other ignorant morons like him are doing, is simply going to create more hatred, and justify every lie that those groups have said about our country and us as a people. You are also putting us in much greater danger in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Pakistan. I realize that you don't care about us over here, because you are slapping us in the face and throwing us to the wolves by what you are about to do. Religious freedom is not just Christian freedom, last time I looked.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      Were you protesting the release of Abu Graib images the same way?

      September 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKJ

      Well said David. And many care about the people over there serving their country. I don't understand the needs of so many have to hate a whole society based on the action of a few. As for this preacher's purpose, it is no different than the leaders of the islamic terrorist groups, to spread fear & hatred toward complete strangers. To judge all by the few never did make since.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CJ

    One, I doubt this 'Christian' pastor has ever read the Bible.Many supposed 'Christians' have not. I am sure that hes' not read the Qua ran.
    Two, If a person condemns something they are ignorant of, is senseless. Promoting hate on the basis of following the crowd is stupid. Should 'Christians' be hated because of a few lunatics who proclaim belief in that religion? Should any entire group be condemned because a few of them are extremists?
    If that is the case, then all men should be hated as a few of them kill or injure or cheat or abuse children, Same for women, etc.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    If u r a soldier over there and we r at war do your thing. Take them out and be done with it. U r under constant attack now u prob won't even notice the difference and if they all attack u defend yourself. They burn our stuff all the time and we r soposed to take it. No way we r finnaly starting to show tHose muslims what's up we don't want their ridiculos religion. And if it were up to me there would b no religion causes to much trouble and really those storys are mostly fairytales especially the old testement

    September 9, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • TEF

      You, sir, are an idiot. You obviously have no idea what life is like for members of the military in hostile environments, and until you do, should be quiet about telling soldiers how to do their jobs. The main cause of casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are IEDs, which don't require terrorists to even be in the area, let alone in view. In short, the soldiers know what they're doing. They're trained, you're not.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • t tran

      Our soldiers have a strict set of guidelines when engaging. It is not like hunting.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mike

    Maybe this flood in pakistan is the best thing that could have happened for us that might have really disputed those terrorists=muslims don't send any aid do some cleansing of those people

    September 9, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. mike

    I didn't see any aid from them when the great lakes flooded or during katrina or during the oil spill so why do we have to get involved we should mind our own affairs as we do with no help so I don't believe we should go help all those hostile countrys

    September 9, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • HI

      Actually if you look over your facts, when the hurricane hit USA. Kuwait was the highest donor of international aid 500 mil if my memory serves correct. UAE another Muslim country also sent aid like most of the Muslim countries you are calling enemies. Even Pakistan with its own money issues sent at least 1 mil in aid to US. Other aid donors are many Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and many more.

      Muslim countries actually sent more aid to USA then they did to Pakistan.

      Please check your facts next time.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    It comes down to one simple line. “Sinners can repent, but stupid is forever.” –Anonymous

    If this is accomplished, the Rev. Terry Jones will be forever stupid.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Thats a neat little saying. However stupid i'd like to say the self proclaimed Rev is.. I must forgive him for his actions and ignorence. Hope that one day someone gets to him and he understands the situation. Mayb its a big scam to become known nation wide? who knows

      September 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. uspatriot

    we put up we muslims burning our flag & chanting "death to america" – they can & will have to put up with the burning of the "the quran". You can only get to heaven by accepting Jesus as your lord and savior. If you leave Jesus out - well your heading (not to heaven) so the only other highway is straight to hell - Hello Quran.... Sound off America & say it like it is!!

    September 9, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. mike

    I think this terry jones guy will b seen as a patriot and start a revolt and he will b seen as a leader against the muslims. Kinda like their ayatolah and all those muslim kooks its time to pick a side and I don't like any religion but if I jave to pick I'll take the american side against the muslim. Maybe the crusades and east vs west is going to happen again we must take them out if the big fight goes down and all the civillian americans in the middLe eat don't have the sense to leave whatever. I would never go there

    September 9, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kristiane

    "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."

    While I disagree with this course of action by a man who called himself "Reverend", I cannot fail to see the irony in that what he plans to do is not far different than the 9-11 terrorists and other terrorists have planned and carried out. In both cases, they are fools.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. maggie

    The utter bigotry caused by utter ignorance we are showing the world as "educated" americans is frightening to me. Just like when we renamed french fries "freedom fries" in protest. Too hypocritical to not eat them at all – let's just rename them and all will be fine. Dumb dumb

    September 9, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. FlyingDragon(Canada)

    This is not the way of Jesus. He is a self rightous man leading his flock astray. He casts the stone at the Muslims bending down to the same level. He plays into the hands of the Devil making that church no better then radical flag burning Muslims. I am NOT a fan of Muslim's becuase there Muslim Laws and the same as ancient Judiasm from which they copied most iof the ideas in the first place (stoning etc). No one is innocent here but I feel that this is a selfish and selfrightous act and casts another dark shadow on the Church Of God amd there are so many radicals looking for another excuse to blow something up. .

    September 9, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
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