‘Burn the Quran Day’ Plan Prompts Warnings of Anger, Unrest

By Patrick Goodenough | August 25, 2010 | 4:21 AM EDT

Muslims believe the Quran, in the original Arabic, to be the infallible “final revelation” of Allah to Mohammed. (Image: Iqra)

(CNSNews.com) – The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has joined the growing condemnation of plans by a Florida church to burn copies of the Quran on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
A spokesman for the Jeddah-based bloc of Islamic states expressed concern Tuesday that the planned action by the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville would stir up “anger across the Muslim world and provoke unrest.”
The OIC said it hoped the U.S. government would “take appropriate steps to protect the sacred religious sentiments of Muslims of America and of the Muslims across the world.”
Dove pastor Terry Jones did not respond to queries Tuesday about the planned event or whether his church had come under any pressure from law enforcement agencies to call it off.
But after the City of Gainesville fire department last week turned down its application for a permit under outdoor fire ordinances, Dove emailed a statement saying that despite the rejection of the application as well as pressure from its commercial insurance provider and the bank holding its mortgage, “we will still burn Korans.”
The non-denominational church has drawn fire from Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups over the plan, which it says will take place “in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam.”
The National Association of Evangelicals late last month said in a statement that the Quran burning would “exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims throughout the world” and urged cancellation of the event.
The Anti-Defamation League called it a tactic undoubtedly “intended to cast blame on all Muslims for 9/11, and not the extremists who perpetrated the terrorist attack.”
Also weighing in was the Supreme Council of Al-Alzhar University in Cairo – regarded as the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam – which called on other American churches to condemn an event it said was aimed at “stirring up hate and discrimination.”
The initiative’s Facebook page, “International Burn a Koran Day,” had attracted 6,000 supporters as of early Wednesday.
Jones is the author of a controversial book entitled “Islam Is of the Devil,” and the church’s Web site lists ten reasons why it thinks the Quran should be burned.
They range from the Quranic injunctions denying Jesus’ divinity (Muslims revere Jesus as a Muslim prophet but do not recognize him as the son of God or believe he was crucified) to the alleged inclusion of what it calls “Arabian idolatry, paganism, rites and rituals.”
Violence, protests
Muslims believe the Quran, in the original Arabic, to be the infallible “final revelation” of Allah to Mohammed.
Abuses of the Quran – whether actual, perceived or rumored – have triggered violence on numerous occasions.
A Newsweek report in 2005 to the effect that a copy of the Quran was thrown into a toilet at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to fluster Muslim detainees sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan and protests elsewhere, some of them violent.
A week of rioting in Afghanistan led to at least 15 deaths and several hundred clerics issued a statement saying they would call for a jihad against the U.S. if those responsible were not handed over to an Islamic country for punishment within three days.
Even after the newsmagazine retracted the claim and the Pentagon said investigations had found no evidence to support the claim, the protests continued.
In 2007 the anti-Islamist Dutch politician Geert Wilders called the Quran a “fascist” text that should be outlawed in the Netherlands, in the same way as Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is banned there.
The following year he released a short documentary film which interspersed passages from the Quran with footage of terror attacks and extremist incitement, sparking protests from Muslims around the world.
Wilders is now on trial in the Netherlands for allegedly “inciting hatred and discrimination,” and will reappear in October.
In Pakistan, radicals angered by Muslim conversions to Christianity have targeted the “apostates” as well as other Christians by accusing them of Quran desecration, according to groups working with Christian communities in Islamic societies.
Blasphemy provisions in Pakistan’s penal code outlaw desecrating the Quran and insulting the name of Mohammed – offenses that are punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow