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. joetuna888

    yo mike, yo john 3:16, how can you guys be so shallow, so monodimensional? You act like the information you get from CNN and the Colbert Report is accurate; you seem to think your world view is complete. It's not. You get treated exactly like a mushroom. You keep making reference to our embattled troops. You know explosives are next to impossible to buy in this country, yet in a backward occupied nation they seem available on every other street corner. We have a lot of overt and covert operatives on the ground yet the flow of this hard-to-get material rolls on. Why is this so after eight years of trying to stem the flow? Guys, try to think this issue through before jumping to a conclusion. Information gleaned from twenty-second sound bites is exactly the misinformation our politicians rely on to dupe us each election season. I live in Northern Kentucky and get to listen to such leading villians as Senators McConnell and Bunning and Representative Boehner all the time. These guys are congessional leaders who are responsible for our current economic and political woes, yet as a nation nearly half of us believe our problems just popped up since the last election. It is time for a national brain check. Tuna out!!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Yeah, blame Bush you coward!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Billish

    Wait a minute....I have a way out! I think I remember being taught that Muslims do not consider ANY translation to be the Koran. If it's not written in the language of Muhammad and blessed by the imams, etc., then it's not really the Koran.

    Aren't the books these idiots in Florida are burning just english-language translations of the Koran, not the Koran itself? According to Muslim belief, I don't think these are actually Korans at all....thoughts?

    September 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Worrying about Islamic Radical reactions to a man burning a book is nothing more than worrying about a bullies reaction to something he/she disagrees with. If there are people out there willing to kill people over a book in the name of their god then the problem doesnt lie with the man burning the book. Have a little courage and remember that America is built of the concept of defending ones right to do something that you might personally despise. The international outrage from various Islamic and other religious leaders is so far over the top on this that its amusing. Perhaps this book burning will bring all of the Radicals out of hiding and we can finally get this war over with and bring our troops home!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      That would be nice, I wish I was there to take a shot!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • TEF

      @RJ Perhaps you should join and get over there, then? Otherwise you have no right to talk.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nazarite

    This pastor seeks fame. He could burn the books without public knowledge. That would be between him and the Almighty El Shaddai. Why publicize this folly? You burn the Quran in your vicinity, it does not automatically burn all the Qurans in the world....whether the book is evil or good it will still exist until the end of time. Jeez people.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      You just don't get it fool!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mere

    i can`t wait to see it burnt

    September 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Holly

    This is horrible that man should not be burning those books. Obviously no good will come from it. All muslims are not bad... and any one who believes they are is a deceived and ignorant person. This promotes hate and division. Rev. Terry Jones is making a mistake. How can he call him self a christian when spreading love is exaggerated so much in the bible??? This is the direct opposite.. very hypercritical!!!!!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      All muslims are bad, or they would stop, or atleast condem the radicals acts!

      September 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mere

    koran is of the evil mohamed is satanic

    September 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. barbara jn baptiste

    Human beings were created with a sense of free will to have the freedom to descide right and wrong and freedom of religion and so burning the holy quaran is gross disrespect for the muslims we should respect other peoples faith even if we do not agree with their teachings i think the pastor should be stop and arrested because he is not above the law.what if he was planning some act of terroism in this country,i am sure authorities would step in.this is an act of terroism agains muslims and it can be stop

    September 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Laith

    For those who do not know the Quran, it contains the stories of profits and messengers.
    Jesus is mentioned in the Quran about 28 times. Below are the verses which contain the name Jesus. These have been taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of the Holy Quran by running the a search of the word "Jesus" at http://www.al-quran.info
    Other names mentioned are Adam,Mary, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac,jacob, Mosses,Joseph and many more Burning the Quran would mean burning all these names with it.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    Many of these comments are simply naive. Non-muslims, Hindu's, Christians, non-believers, ect... are being annihilated in majority Muslim societies. Please examine for yourself the cleansing that has occurred over the past 50 years in muslim countries. 25% of Jeruselem was Christian a mere 20 years ago, now only 8%. Jordan, 30 years ago 35% of the population was Christian, now less than 10%. Thousands of Hindu temples were totally destroyed in Pakistan, along with forced conversions, leaving thousands of Hindu's murdered. All of this still continues today. Muslims may be docile on societies where they are not a majority, but it's clear that when they become a majority they have a constant track record of intollerance. It isn't just 'radicals' making life miserable for non-Muslims, it's the silence of the majority that represents a continuing and shameful chapter of Islam.

    You may understand why I see the burning of this holy book as trivial in comparison to the mass murder and cleansing of non-Muslims throughout the world.

    We need promote less tolerance toward Muslims and emphasize reciprocity, namely politically leaders calling for ideological freedom throughout the Muslim world. The first stop might be for Muslims to approve the building of a church, temple, athiest cafe in Mecca.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Laith

    About 28 times. Below are the verses which contain the name Jesus. These have been taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of the Holy Quran by running the a search of the word "Jesus" at http://www.al-quran.info

    [2:87] We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!

    [2:136] Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses andJesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)."

    [2:253] Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah Fulfilleth His plan.

    [3:45] Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;

    [3:52] When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.

    [3:55] Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.

    [3:59] The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.

    [3:84] Say: "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)."

    [4:157] That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

    [4:163] We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.

    [4:171] O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

    [5:46] And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

    [5:78] Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.

    [5:110] Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: 'This is nothing but evident magic.'

    [5:112] Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear Allah, if ye have faith."

    [5:114] Said Jesus the son of Mary: "O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)."

    [5:116] And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.

    [6:85] And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous:

    [19:34] Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

    [33:7] And remember We took from the prophets their covenant: As (We did) from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn covenant:

    [42:13] The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).

    [43:57] When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, thy people raise a clamour thereat (in ridicule)!

    [43:61] And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.

    [43:63] When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: "Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me.

    [57:27] Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors.

    [61:6] And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!"

    [61:14] O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.
    In the Arabic original text of the holy Quran, Jesus Peace be upon Him is mentioned explicitly by name exactly 25 times.
    Three verses of the Noble verses mentioned above don't have His explicit name but it's mentioned in the translation for clarification.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    CNN, are you doing all your homework on this story? Have you reported the facts from the Gainesville newspaper, that this so-called pastor just had a portion of his tax-exemption revoked, because he is running a large used furniture for-profit store from that church, and now has to pay over 3,000 in taxes on the property, money, his small church obviously doesn't come by easily. THIS IS ALL ABOUT MONEY! and stupid people will send it to him!

    September 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. scotty

    we the christian chrch need to get our own house in order before we try to get someones elses house in order. and what pator terry is doing is not the way to do it. we are sending a very bad message to the world that we are not following Christs example. if we are not allowed to speak bad about satan, (and thats biblical), what gives us the right to do evil against someone else? To quote pastor james mcarthur statement.. what we call ourselves is a claim, what others see in us is a conformation. we eithe walk the talk , or talk the walk. Regardless of how much we hash over this, and what our different viws are, if Christ would not do this, then we as belivers would not do it either. one last thing, where is first corthians 13?

    September 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robin

    Can't this creep Jones be arrested for something? What about arson?

    He is arranging an arsonist act. This is so much worse than flag burning. This is a far-reaching act of inciting worldwide riots, teasing terrorism, and endangering perhaps thousands of lives.

    Jones should be treated like a common criminal in jail, and an international terrorist by the community at large. Remember, he's not just painting a target on the heads of New Yorkers and Floridians, he is hanging a target on you.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      That's a 'hostage' mentality. We give up our freedoms because Muslims will go nuts? Guess what they will go nuts over just about anything. What's next, they tell us we have to build an Islamic Center next to the former Twin Towers or they'll go nuts?

      September 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RJ

    Robin
    You are the creep! Yes, it is much worse than cutting heads off, stoning women, dragging soldiers in the streets, hanging contractors from bridges and flying planes into our buildings. Yes we should apologize for hating them and what their stupid little book says.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Your comparisons make no sense. I guess no one could accuse you of having the ability to reason, right? Apples are oranges. Maybe the next attack will be by you. Or on you. Who knows? You're certainly asking for it.
      Move to Gainsville + devote your life to this egomaniac. Stand for your convictions. You're so smart.

      September 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
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