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. Mark

    These are just books...you know, pieces of paper bound together. The Quran is a collection of supernatural fairytales. The fact that this event is causing so much irrational reactions within the global Muslim community (i.e, death threats and Interpol arrest warrants) once again shows how Islam continues to live in the 16th century.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. john316

    I do not see this much concern and anger at Iran and other anti-christians for doing practically the same thing against Judaism and Christianity. The Iran president lets his people do this every day to the Bible. So I guess the Bible is not as important or it does not mater if Christians are mad for the hate of thier Holy Word. I say burn them.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • nonnAmerican Muslim

      Can you please provide some link to verify the information that Bibles get burned everyday in Iran or any other muslim country for that matter? Coming from a Muslim country, I can at least assure you that we have been brought up with the teaching to have respect for all religious books, more so for Bible and Torah, since the muslims believe believe that those are God's words too, but have been distorted by man (I do not want to get into a debate regarding this, I just mentioned it to illustrate why respect for Bible comes naturally to a muslim).

      September 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Georges Nicolaidis

    Terry Jones is a shame to Christianity. He is the perfect example of intolerance, bigotry and fanaticism we are all trying to fight since 9/11.

    That he made his heinous call in the name of Christianity is obscene as is the fact that in freedom-loving America he has equally sick followers!

    September 9, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. rgw

    Amazing...with all the bs going on in the Mid-east with Muslims fighting Muslims...just amazing...
    But the same holds true with Catholics and Protestants in Ireland..it is all STUPID..all believe in one God and nail each other because you CLOWNS worship differently...DAH
    This is why I think believing in the FORCE is the answer..
    If you do not know what that is-watch Star Wars...

    September 9, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tina

    Quran burning is just idiotic. We may not agree with one another's religion, and we may feel strongly about members of another religion who have wronged us as enormously as the 9/11 bombers did, but that doesn't mean we need to disrespect everyone who happens to be of that religion. Book-burning will only lower the rest of the world's opinion of the people who are doing it (and – unfortunately – of the country of which said fools happen to be citizens).

    September 9, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nina

    if you don't respect someone else's religion, you obviously do not know how to respect your own... So all of you who are supporting this so called pastor – please put paperbag over your face before you get out on the street!!!! SHAME ON YOU AMERICA!!!!1 Let's see who will be known as the most nastiest people in the world and pure evil on sep.12... obviously not muslims....

    September 9, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    religion is dumb... this is my opinion on the subject.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Religion is a gateway for people to feel wanted and accepted. It's a cult in every sense where people of the same beliefs meet together. They find a reasoning to life and have ideas for the immortal. It's nice to believe some of the ideas but others are not very rational. But like you said it is your opionion so i'm not putting that down. just stating society would be vastly different if there was no relgion

      September 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Virginia Nielsen in FLORIDA

    Mark, upthere, ALL RELIGIONS ARE BASED IN FAIRY TALES, they were criated by humans to control another humans. All of them talk about being GOOD and FAIR but, in the end, as we see in History, they bring death and suffering to their followers, because the radicals are always in control !!! Hopefuly this extremist "pastor"won't burn the Korans, so we can have, at least, peace of mind.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Agreed. I'm more concerned about implications this event will have on our first amendment rights. Remember, this is just a book, and it deserves no special recognition just because 1billion people believe in it's irrational claims.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. From North Korea

    I AM SO HAPPY THAT MY PARENT RAISED ME NOT TO BELIEVED IN ANY RELIGION

    September 9, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. john316

    To Rev. Terry Jones,
    Do not back down, burn the books. You need to stand strong for Christians because no one else does.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Your just as ignorent and do not understand the underlying meaning. Truely not a good follower of god. What about spreading peace?? the main concept to this religion

      September 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • fosmic

      i see u and terry jones have too much in common asin both of u r dense!

      September 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Noble

      Thats right John 316, and WWJD? And you say I am not christian, unfortunately this has nothing to our faith, but someone's ego and need for attention.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mike

    If ur a woman try living over there and see how tolerant they r to u. They will beat u with a stick on ur ankles make u wwalk behind and cover up so only ur eyes show. Burn that crap muslim garbage and whaen they burn more of our stuff burn some more like provoking an idiot monkey that jumps and hollers all the time

    September 9, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • nonnAmerican Muslim

      Can you explain how come then so many muslim countries have female head-of-states (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia) ? I agree. In Saudi Arabia and some other muslim countries, women are indeed opressed. There is no denying that. But that is not because Islam teaches that. It is the fault of those societies. If it was Islam's stand in general, then women in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia should have suffered the same fate too (the number of muslims in these countries are much more than those Arab countries).

      September 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • itgrl

      I'm tired of pu$$y footing around these muslims. They need to know we are not afraid of their a$$es.

      September 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    While I disagree with this action, it only causes me to wonder where are the major news outlets when our beloved flag is being burned, or some other religious books is being burned or destroyed. Why Why all the sudden is it so important to make a big deal just because is has to do with the muslin religion? It wrong to violate anybodys right to freedom of religion that include chrisitianity which I don't see anyone in the news media getting all fired up about so to be fair if you are going to get all fired up about this then as Americans we should hold the media accountable starting now to be as fervant about our flag or when any other religions rights are trampled on.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • john316

      Amen

      September 9, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. john

    freedom. if troops in afganistan are not fighting to preserve freedom then what are they doing there in the first place. if a guy can't express himself freely, then, it's not freedom our troops are dying for. we have to draw a line between freedom and fear. right now, fear of muslims are endangering our freedom. we are afraid to express our freedom because muslims might go berserk and hurt people? i invite muslims to burn bibles during christmas. it's freedom. express it by burning stuff and doing whatever is lawful to express yourself. we must not be afraid to be free. don't let terrorist take our basic freedom of expressions away! as a military vet, i would be happy to defend that freedom. i would be willing to face more danger for that freedom.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ricardo101

    Do you think that if the Taliban burn copies of the bible is going to cause the same worldwide protest???

    September 9, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    Kuwait owed us big time they should give us lots of cheap oil if not for us they wouldn't even b a country those countrys owed us bigtime so they gave us a little bit we give themwelfare all the time

    September 9, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
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