LAHORE: Both Muslim and Christian clerics have strongly condemned the plan to set ablaze 200 copies of the Holy Quran to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9-11 incident, terming it an expression of terrorism, extremism and hate which was bound to increase the growing divide between Muslims and Christians.
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Munawar Hasan urged the Muslim world to rise up against the West’s religious terrorism against Islam and Muslims. He termed US President Obama’s condemnation of Florida pastor’s threats mere farce, saying Obama, who heads those championing the cause of inter-faith dialogue, freedoms and liberties, should have arrested and tried the pastor for his hate crime against the entire Muslim world.
Munawwar appealed to the nation to observe Friday as a protest day against these threats to tell the West that such blasphemy was intolerable. He asked why the western leaders, who had been coining and using the terms of terrorist and extremist against Muslims, were now keeping mum over this outrageous move.
He said on the one hand, the Muslims were being accused of terrorists and militarily attacked on while, on the other hand, they were being made victims of religious terrorism.
Minhaujul Quran International chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has written a letter to President Obama, telling him that such an outrageous act will not only create hatred against Muslims but also break the fragile relations between the Muslims and the West. It would affect the worldwide peacemaking efforts, culture of dialogue, process of cohesion and integration between different religion, he added.
The presiding bishop of Church of Pakistan and Co-convenor of World Council of Religions, Bishop Samuel Azriah, and the chairman of National Commission for Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism, Bishop Dr Andrew Francis, have also condemned Pastor Terry Jones for his proposed burning of Quran.
In a joint statement, they said the Christian church and community of Pakistan strongly condemned such act and deemed it an evil design by a self-proclaimed priest, demanding the US government take every measure to thwart such an evil act. They said Christians all over the world had already termed the plan an abuse of Christian teachings and its message to love all. Bishop of Lahore and Moderator Church of Pakistan Dr Alexander John Malik also condemned Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters for their offensive move.