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. Debra

    No person of any religion would want their holy book burned. His actions are wrong period. Every religious or spiritual person should view this as wrong and if they don"t they should check their own value system.
    With Freedom comes with responsibility. There are 2 questions that should always be answered when acting. Can I? Should I? Can he- yes... Should he- no.
    People have stopped asking themselves the 2nd question but if you are religious or spiritual the 2nd question is more important.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cybercop

    am starting to hate Americans

    September 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tod

      Then you hate freedom! You hate the generosity from Americans too? We give money to almost all foreign countries. We should stop then, withdraw our troops and let the rest of the world kill each other while we sit back and watch. If it were not for the US, All of Europe including Arab nations would be speaking German, show some respect for us and all the Americans who died to make the world FREE as it is now. Maybe we should have just let Hitler kill everyone over there, right?

      September 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Burn our flag, we burn your Book.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • fosmic

      u gonna cut thier heads off 2? wow where do u people come from. damn!

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

    Burning a holy book is wrong period... .. There are 2 questions peopleeveryone should ask themselves before acting. 1 Can I ? 2 Should I ? If you are a religious, spiritual or a humanist ...the 2nd question is the one that really matters. People have stopped asking question #2 (including the media)
    Can the pastor burn the book- Yes Should he- No

    September 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clinton

      Debra, Valid point, We always have freedom, this guy is guaranteed the freedom to burn the Quran, should he? who knows. but my overlying point is, Muslims shouldn't hate the same freedom that's going to let them build the 9/11 mosque. Case closed.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mixedgas

    I guess it's alright for them to burn OUR FLAG and the ILLEGALS to FLY OUR FLAG UPSIDE DOWN. This is freedom of speech right? Wake -up PEOPLE!!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    The very first quote cited demonstrates the purpose of this Quran burning - "we will target any Christians, even if they are innocent"

    September 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Moptop

    If the press weren't so aggressive in covering this, it would have came and went and no one would've known.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clinton

      Moptop – lol exactly. That's the hilarious part about this.... this is a case of "The NEWS" creating news. I guarantee this would have flown by without so much as an article in the daily tribune of whatever town this guy is from if CNN hadn't picked it up and made it available to so many people throughout the world. HAH... creating your own stories CNN... that deserves some kind of award.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan Kirk

    The Quran or Koran burning will show whether or not Islam is truely a religion of tolerance and peace. I will be watching.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clinton

      Dan, i think we've already seen, Muslims do not take insults to their religion lightly... they kill reporters and threaten bombings when a drawing comes out of their "prophet" ....... really? that's worth killing someone?
      Anyone remember the artist that put a cross in a jar of urine and called it art? ..... i'm pretty sure that guy didn't get killed by a mob of religious rioters ... nor were there bombings in response and beheadings of any of his associates....

      September 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      Yes, Clinton, WE may have seen the Muslim response, but this time I hope the so called peaceful Muslim majority sees it themselves. The hardest problems come when we meet the enemy and the emeny is ourselves.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sjdl

      I find u stupid dan why dont u come here and lets see u respect my religion oh wait u probably worhip satn because the reliogions who pray to god are ISLAM, CHRISTIANITY< AND JEWS but it doesn't seem like u are part of any of those so go to hell with your bigot ideas of how a lot of people hate Muslims if u hate Muslims , Christians, or Jews. You better respect these religions

      September 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan Kirk

    If you had only two choices: burn a holy book or kill someone, which would you do?

    September 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam


      September 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      Yet America is being warned of the untold violence that will occur if the burning takes place... even the killing of innocents. Then what would be an appropriate response by Mulims to the burning of Qurans?

      September 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joseph Carullo

    I haven't come across the part in the Bible where God says let there be freedom of religion. I think our forefathers wanted freedom of religion among the Christian faiths not the world religions. I did come across the parts in the Bible where God says to kill every man, woman and child of certain religions so your children and your children's children don't pickup any bad habits from them. I'm not saying I want to kill Islams, let them stay in their country. What I would like to see is for this country (USA) to be a Christian nation.
    As for burning the quran go ahead. Islams burn our flag, posters of our Presidents and kill our people and their own. They're crazy. Burning the quran will help flush out the 10% Islamic extremists. Let the Armageddon begin. Its Gods will. A true Christian is ready the rest are afraid. By the way let's throw the Torah the Quran and the Bible in the fire and see which one doesn't burn.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      Sure, one of the benefits of the burning will be the identification of Mulim extremists and al Qaeda sympathizers. Probably only the dumb ones. Muslim extremists are very smart. 9/11 proves it.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. philipe12

    If you still think that state religion is about peace, you haven't been paying attention. And since when does the burning of a holy book recruit troops? There isn't this much fuss when a flag gets burned.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sjdl

    I want everyone to learn that Muslims,Christians, and Jews need to be kind and this man burning them is jeoperdizing life for many people and also i am a muslim it says in the quran god will punish those who don't belive in him and plus i also want to tell everybod we must be tolerent of each other i am i have many friends that have different religions.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Kirk

      So be tolerant of this Quran burner. Let God do his own punnishing. Muslim's seem to want to play policeman. In the Christian Bible God says "Vengence is mine, I will repay says the Lord."

      September 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Walter

    Muslims will demonstrate their respect for secular law and freedom of speech by their reaction. Unlike conventional religions, Islam is a religious ideology. To understand Islam's religious ideology, please see this:

    September 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ryan T

    Such methods to convey a stand against published material (to burn books) I do not agree with but I guess expression of any persuassion is a freedom only found in today's America and in Germany prior to WWII.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    Why did the US Military burn Bibles? Doesn't "Washington" consider that a Holy Book?

    – 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."

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