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. AJ BABAO

    I am a messianic neither christian nor jew nor muslim. but to burn such a holy book. is an act of stupidity on the part of this crazy pastor. He does not believe in the teachings of his so called god and doctrine. muslims and christians lost their lives in 9/11 This was an act of terrorism and this pastor will soon come to know his end both from heaven and this world for he has not learned the ways of the one true God.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      AJ BABAO:
      What does god have to do with it? Stop being trying to correlate!

      September 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joetuna888

    Yo RJ, what is up with the name calling. You seem like a spiteful little person with too much time on your hands. Are you a christian? Do you go to church twice a week and read your bible, or do you just spout stupidity under the guise of religiosity? Tuna out.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      joetuna888

      What's this "Yo" stuff idiot?

      September 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    Although I condemn the burning of any religious books, I think it's funny that extremists can kill bishops, burn churches and outlaw Christianity but a lone Christian nut job can't burn a Koran. After reading this article I really hope they go through with the burning. It would be a nice middle finger to the extremists. I'm just sorry it would offend the good Muslims.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Very good Mary

      September 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      What's funny about murder or cross burnings? I fail to see the humor in criminality.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • burtonlove

      Lone nutjob no more...he is joined in burning the Qu'ran by Phelps and the maniacal westboro baptist church of Kansas who plan on their Secons Qu'ran burning.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RJ

    joetuna888
    What does going to church, reading the bible have to do with this? What I hate is that we are worring about what can happen, or that it is wrong to burn a stupid little book. I could care less about all these things except that the pasture has the right and I have the right to say what I wish, if you don't like it tough and that shows that you are another coward hiding in America. Everyone has amnesia as far as what islam has done to us. I have been there and I see what type of animals they are. And for you to stick up for them is crap, why don't you stick up for an American instead of these "less than life’s"? They don't care about you; remember we are the infidel, the less than human. Wake up stupid.

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

      You do have the right to speak up and I am not a coward because I don't totally agree with you. What is truly sad is seeing The Unitied States divided it make it appear that the 9-11 attack and the invasion of middle east has benifited the terrorist. They have us fighting amoung ourselves because of their beliefs.
      Let the man burn the books
      Let him speak his mind
      It doesn't mean we have to agree
      Our country is filled with hatefull people who easily blames other for their problems: racist. bigots and the ignorant.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • joetuna888

      Yo RJ, did I hurt your feelings? So sorry, but the truth that sets you free can sting a little. Tuna out.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GG

    Burn the Quren Burn the Bible Burn all flags when the smoke clears. Some one will print a Quren,a Bible and make more flags. It won't matter. It has no purpose no reason. Its a waste of time and energy. As long as there is hate and intolerance of others instead of understanding. Some one will be protesting screaming unfair! unjust !
    If you burn these book will that remove the message. Again its a book.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RJ

    Robin
    You are truly stupid, this has nothing to do with nothing, it just gets all you liberals upset if someone stands up to your stupid philosophy. So, I guess you are the type that says; if you don't agree with the president you are a racists!

    September 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Oh, ho ho. Don't worry RJ. There's no doubt in anyone's mind about your racism.

      September 9, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ASRAR AHMED

    i personally feels that even jesus christ wll not forgive jones becoz his name is also mentioned in quran about 28 times and he is burning his jesu's name.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RJ

    Robin
    Your right, I hate anyone who hates or talks bad about a country that I have fought for and have had friends die for. So, you can call me racists, so be it. But I am honest and straight forward unlike you.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      apples + oranges.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. joetuna888

    Yo RJ, did you go to the bestest public schools in the world? Your grammar and spelling are terrible. You are a dupe and a dope. Tuna out

    September 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WS

    I think if they turn Osama Bin Laddin in to the US they might stop the burning.. Hurry turn him in and other top commanders Before they destroy the Quran

    September 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ABC

    AMERICANS are once again proving themselves as the EXTREMIST NATION! This is NOT freedom of speech..This is just to hurt the values of other people....this is just to hurt 1.5 billion Muslims on this planet...YOU guys kill innocent people around the GLOBE without any logical proof...u guys attacked IRAQ....KILLED thousands of innocent people for no reason no justification, same is the case with AFGHANISTAN, VIETNAM, etc, etc. ALL IN ALL YOU PEOPLE ARE OIL HUNGRY NATION UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF FREEMASONS (JEWS)

    and for non-Muslims ill just suggest to at least understand what ISLAM say about everything from LIFE to DEATH of a person....in that way you guys can better understand what to speak or say about ISLAM...your media has shown a distorted picture of ISLAM...seek truth and facts about this GREAT religion (The Religion of PEACE) before commenting anything stupid.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Nice. Knock the Jewish people on their High Holy Days. Then you want to talk about tolerance, facts and truth?
      Who you callin' stupid?

      September 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      See... how did it strike's you...you just picked the only part of my comment which felt offensive to you...so how about BURN A QURAN DAY ??? doesn't that hurts Muslims? [FREEDOM OF SPEECH ehhh]

      besides you do agree to the rest of the part of my comment. Right ?

      September 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      To understand the agenda of Islam, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w

      September 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • minellimu

      Christendom and Islam have both produced violence all over the world for centuries. Christians have moved on from directly inciting violence after centuries of murderous wars and crusades. Islam is just following in the footsteps of Christendom. Regardless of what these books say, religion has caused more harm than good. The facts are facts, many wars have been fought in the name of religion!

      September 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      If you justify people killing over a book (look at todays articles about this event)
      then you are a lost soul who has no moral standing whatsoever. As such, you sir can go rot for your grandstanding against Americans as a whole for the words of a few ignorant fools among us. Most normal U.S citizens will not be agreeing with this kind of behavior. This "preacher" and I use the term loosely, just cost 12 innocent people their lives as of a n article published this morning on this site. I do not see him as a man of God or a good American. I see him for what he is, a lost and foolish man with no soul. Wake up and do the same and stop pointing the finger blindly, lest you become the fool yourself.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Elana C

    In response to the Qur'an burning planned in Florida by Pastor Terry Jones and the congregants at Dove World Outreach Center, we will be reading the Qur'an together this Saturday from 3-6 PM at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, to demonstrate respect toward this important cultural, religious, and historical book and compassion and understanding toward Muslims in America.
    If you are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan, or any other faith or spirituality, you are welcome to attend! If you have never read the Qur'an, you are welcome to attend! This event is about showing appreciation for all religions in America by treating the Qur'an with the respect that it deserves–the same respect you would wish for the values and beliefs that you hold.
    Bring your Qur'an. Share with a friend. Pick up a used copy in a bookstore. By gathering enough people to read the Qur'an, we can demonstrate that the actions of Pastor Jones and his congregants do not represent the views of all Americans, and that we refuse to allow intolerance and hatred to be the status quo. See you on Saturday!

    September 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. red

    This forum's getting boring. RJ's not taking the bait anymore.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nicci

    Why would he want to burn the Quran? That will cause so much pain to people it has nothing to do with.. He thinks its going to start making people think and change their ways but it is only going to cause another war. To make matters even worse it is going to pput every last one of our troops in danger! They are doing this not only on 9/11 but they are also doing this a day before Ramadan ends, so much is going to be started over this bs.. My boyfriend is muslim so I respect the Quran and its beliefs, although I do not have a religion myself.. Rev. Jones needs to think about what he is trying to do.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. burtonlove

    Oh great! Now the awful Kansas church Westboro is planning to also burn the Koran 9/11; their website says they burned the Koran in 2008 too.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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