News / USA

World Leaders Denounce Plans for Quran Burning at a US Church

Political and religious leaders are condemning plans for the head of a small U.S. church to burn Qurans on Saturday to protest against violent Islamic extremists. The church's leader says they will conduct the event despite critics who fear it will inflame religious tensions around the world.

For weeks, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has been advertising an event it calls "International Burn a Koran Day".  The small Christian church chose to hold the event on September 11, in part to honor those killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The church's leader, Pastor Terry Jones, says the burning of the Quran sends a message to violent Islamic extremists like al-Qaida, which carried out the attacks against the United States.

"Our burning of the Quran is to call to attention that something's wrong.  Something is wrong.  It is possibly time for us in a new way to actually stand up, confront terrorism," he said.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the planned event goes against a long history of religious tolerance in the United States.  She said it also sends the wrong message about the country's relationship with Muslims in America and elsewhere.

"It is regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Florida, with a church of no more than 50 people, can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get the world's attention.  But that's the world we live in right now.  I mean, it doesn't in any way represent America or Americans or American government, or American religious or political leadership," he said.

U.S. military officials also condemn the planned event, saying that it might inflame tensions and lead to new attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

At the United Nations, the spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Mr. Ban is disturbed by the actions of the Dove World Outreach Center.

Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq says the event threatens to damage U.N. efforts to help communities overcome religious divisions around the world.

"Any such action, if carried out, would contradict the efforts of United Nations and many people around the world to promote tolerance, intercultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions.  In fact, it would only lead to further discord and polarization between communities, that is what our concern is," he said.

The Vatican also is expressing concern, saying that burning the Quran would be an "outrageous and grave gesture."  Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi says burning the holy book of Islam is not the proper way for people to show their outrage about the 2001 terrorist attacks.  "This act would only call for new hate and violence.  It goes directly in the opposite direction to the building of peace to which we all, as faithful in god and as people of peace, are called," Lombardi said.

In Florida, Pastor Jones says his church has received scores of death threats as well as messages of support about the event, which is scheduled to be held on Saturday.  He says he is aware of the concerns, especially regarding possible risks to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but that the church will not change its plans. "So as of right now, we are not convinced that backing down is the right thing.  So on September 11th, we shall continue with our planned event," he said.

Religious groups across the United States say they plan to protest the burning on Saturday, with events that include readings from the Muslim holy book.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid