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Muslim Community Seeks to Prevent Bible Burning in South Africa

‘Scholars for Truth’ asks courts to prevent Mohammed Vawda from burning bibles this Saturday in Johannesburg

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Delia Robertson

A respected South African Muslim organization has turned to the courts to prevent a fellow-Muslim from burning bibles in retaliation to threats by a United States pastor to burn the Quran.

The Scholars for Truth, a respected Muslim organization in South Africa, is asking the courts to prevent Mohammed Vawda from burning bibles this Saturday in Johannesburg. The organization's lawyer, Zehir Omar, told the e-News Channel, Vawda will have to abide by the court's decision.

"I am going to ask court to interdict Mr. Vawda from continuing with his actions," Omar says. "If Mr. Vawda ignores the interdict he invariably faces arrest."

Omar said he would tell the judge Vawda would be inciting violence if he burnt the bibles, an action he said would also constitute blasphemy.

Vawda told the e-News Channel he decided to burn the bibles in retaliation for the threats by U.S. Reverend Terry Jones to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001.

"He has incited me, I have become infuriated and outraged," Vawda said.

Reverend Jones announced late Thursday he was suspending the burning of the Quran.

The Muslim Judicial Council in South Africa says that burning bibles is contrary to Islamic teachings and the Quran. Spokeswoman Nabeweya Mallick said the council will be addressing the issue directly with Vawda.

"So the actions of Mr. Vawda is totally one person and we totally are very, very disappointed in that and we will be addressing the matter as soon as possible and we will be having discussions with him," said Mallick.

Meanwhile Imtiaz Sooliman of the South African Islamic relief organization, Gift of the Givers, said people like Jones should be left to God. He added that real people of religion do not do things that cause conflict, rather he said, they seek to inspire compassion, understanding and patience.

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