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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.