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. John

    The way to properly dispose of a Kuran is to burn it. SO who cares. And by the way, In Oklahoma City, Timothy was not a christian period. But he did have muslim friends.....

    September 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GG

    Its a Book. Please what's the big deal. Burning books have been a form of protest for years. I don't get it. If you burn the bible will all christians be this outraged. Its a man written book of beliefs for those who want to follow that belief. There are so many more important things going on in the world. Its a book! He's not burning people. If you burn it will the religion no longer exist? I don't think so.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kjcube

    (Ernest Hemmingway once said " The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.) – William Sommerset, Se7en

    September 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shawn

    Freedom of speech doesn't give you freedom from consequences or freedom from ignorance. It's not a free pass to stupidity, bigotry or hate.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • TEF

      Thank you. A logical person with a well-stated argument. I was afraid they didn't exist anymore.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RJ

    I will be burning a Koran Saturday also! Come get some!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RJ

    But, I guess it is OK to throw a shoe at a president, cut heads off, stone women, and burn American Flags! More people than you think are going to be burning Korans this Saturday. This is the way the common person can peacefully protest the venomous parasitic islamic ignorance.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RJ

    Tell me what do muslims produce? Not a dam thing....Just hate and viloance, send them all to hell.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Westerner

      You are right! I would like someone to point to something useful the Muslim world had contributed in the last few hundred years???

      September 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      How dare you, there are plenty of fine Muslims that are greatful for taking our jobs overseas. Just call any big company IT help desk. I'm going to call the Dell helpdesk when I'm burning my stolen copy.

      September 9, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John R

    Wait don't burn the Quran. We're in need of some toilet paper here...

    September 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Yes, I guess I should use it for what it is worth!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    I won't be burning any korans this saturday (I'm lazy), But I agree with their right to. same thing as building the mosque at ground zero. They have a right to build it anywhere they want despite it being somewhat insensitive to others. What the world needs is some sensitivity training. lol.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      no what the world needs is to drop this PC crap.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Westerner

    Why do we always cower to these radicals. We seem to be living our lives worried about offending others. Does Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, The Taliban, and numerous others care when the flag, The Bible, or a picture of out President get burned. Islam only wants to hear and live what "they" see as correct. Any other view is out of the question. Islam is so dangerous because people do not grasp that it is NOT just a religion, buy ALSO a political party and a way to dictate law. This is how it differs greatly from Christianity and other religions. It has a subtle way of indoctrinating people; IE the name of the proposed NY mosque is the Cordoba House, which was the seat of the ruling Muslims when they conquered and ruled Spain for many years. How ironic, ecspecially when many leading muslim scholars long for Spain to go back into Muslim hands!! But they are going to name it that as a show of "tolerance" i'm sure. What a big joke they are pulling on Western civilazation. Wake up you self hating people and realize you have done nothing, but have been brought wars and terror anyway. Understand your future and what is coming if we do not wake up!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    WE DONT CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK, THIS IS AMERICA! We have the right in this country to burn Qurans, Flags, or Toast. We have that right here. Its funny that in other countries they burn the American flag and effigy's to Our Presidents alll the time, but the one time we decide to burn something they have a cow.

    It's funny they want to live with 5th Century Rules in the 21st Century, IT DOESNT WORK! Get over it, our religion doesnt run our lives like theirs does. So go eat some pork, drink some alchol, visit a strip club and live better lives.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      And then come visit me!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JOMO

    Maybe some people who don't agree with the book burning should show up with fire extinguishers for some community service hours.

    After all, only YOU can stop wild (Quran) fires!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Now is the perfect time to ask the question: When do inalienable rights to freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, such as is obviously being abused now by the American and world media, defer to the necessary responsibility for the safety and well-being of all citizens? This no-name pastor in SomewhereTown, USA has not ignited a torrent of hatred and fear around the world. The media has. Is the media willing to take responsibility for the outcome of this "story" that they have given so much attention to in their presentation of the "news"? And are governments willing to hold the media responsible for the monsters they create?

    We are on a daily basis being manipulated through our addiction to media to believe all sorts of things, to buy all sorts of things and to act in all sorts of ways. There is little honour, unbiased reporting or wisdom left in our mainstream media today. It is all about...you guessed it...money and power. One excellent way to exercise your right to oppose the manipulation that the media exerts on you is to simply turn it off.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Take your meds!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RJ

    I still don't understand why we are so afraid! We have become cowards of the world. We need to do more things like this to rub it in their face. More people should say FU to muslims and all their ignorant beliefs.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TEF

      Your insane troll logic makes me want to cry.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lindsey

    This country is based on freedom. Freedom of religon...freedom of speech..so on and so forth. Our men and women have died for this freedom and are still dying for this freedom. We have become a country who allows every other country to tell us how to run our nation. I have seen other countries burn our flag and burn our bibles and what is done about that. NOTHING! We as christains know that burning our bibles dont take away our beliefs or our faith. Burning our flag does not take away our country or our love for it. One man is doing something that is upsetting the whole world... how silly. Put your big girl pants on and deal with it. Right or wrong he will be judged later. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away is right but shinning a spot light on it and announcing it to everyone is sure not helping th situation either. We are called the melting pot for a reason it takes all kinds to make this country go around some are good some are not. This is true for every country.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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