News / USA

Religious Leaders Appeal for Calm After Quran Burning

Effigy of the American pastor Terry Jones is seen burning during a demonstration in Shinwar, Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, after protests erupted in Afghanistan again Monday against the Florida pastor's burning of the Quran, April 4, 201
Effigy of the American pastor Terry Jones is seen burning during a demonstration in Shinwar, Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, after protests erupted in Afghanistan again Monday against the Florida pastor's burning of the Quran, April 4, 201

Last fall, when Florida pastor Terry Jones first threatened to burn a copy of the Muslim holy book, a group of Christian ministers met with him and urged him not to do it.

Geoff Tunnicliffe was among them. He's International Director of the New York-based World Evangelical Alliance, which represents 600 million Evangelical Christians around the globe.

He says he told Jones: "If you continue with your action and violence occurs, pastors are killed, churches are burnt down, would you actually come with me and sit with widows and explain to them why you had to take the action you did?"

That statement is thought to have helped persuade Jones to abandon his plans last fall. But when Jones made it clear earlier this year that he would go ahead after all, Tunnicliffe again tried to stop him and failed. Jones burned a Quran on March 20. And despite condemnations by U.S. President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, angry mobs there have staged deadly protests including an attack on a U.N. compound,killing seven U.N. workers.

Christian and Muslim religious leaders in America are condemning the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor and the deadly violence it triggered in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They also are appealing for moderation as the pastor plans to escalate his anti-Muslim activities.

Tunnicliffe says Jones' small church is not even a member of the World Evangelical Alliance. "The message that we're trying to get out is that Terry Jones operates a tiny fringe congregation that is not representative of mainstream church Evangelicalism or Christian belief," he said.

While Christian leaders condemn the desecration of Muslim scriptures, a number of Muslim leaders in America have condemned the violent reaction.

Daisy Khan is the executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement. She's also the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, whose proposal to locate a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks stirred controversy last year.

She said Jones cannot be accused of committing a crime. "Well, burning the Quran is not a crime because God doesn't need any defense," Khan said. "The Quran is the word of God. That's like saying when Pastor Terry puts the Quran on trial, did he invite God to come down and defend himself?"

Khan said Muslims everywhere should remember their faith is about moderation.

Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington said most Americans are moderate in their view of Islam.

In a February poll by his institute, 62 percent of respondents said American Muslims are an important part of the U.S. religious community. He said Americans also have a high regard for scripture.

"So there's an intense respect for religion in the general public that in itself cuts against these sorts of acts being okay with many in public," said Jones.

Out on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., visitors from around the country said what the Florida pastor did was inexcusable.

"I don't know why anybody would burn a holy book, for any reason," says Marylin Paul of Virginia.

James Gibson, who is from Georgia, said he agrees, for the most part. "But I do find it kind of ironic that they can scream, 'Death to infidels,' but if we do anything we're just, you know, the devil."

As for Florida Pastor Terry Jones, his web site says he's now planning a protest in front of one of America's largest mosques in Dearborn, Michigan. He's also quoted as saying he wants to put Islam's prophet Mohammed on trial.


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid