Angelina Jolie condemns US church`s plan to burn Quran

Islamabad: Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, currently touring flood-hit areas of Pakistan to drum up support for victims, today condemned a US church`s plan to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"I have hardly the words (to oppose the fact) that somebody would do that to somebody`s religious book," Jolie told a news conference in Islamabad after visiting reliefs camps in northwest Pakistan, one of the areas hit hardest by the floods.

Asked if she supported American pastor Terry Jones` plan to burn the Islamic holy book, she replied: "Of course not, of course not."

The move by Jones, who heads the little-known Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, has sparked concerns about heightened Christian-Muslim tensions in the US and other parts of the world, especially the Middle East.

The pastor has said he plans to go ahead despite the concerns.

Jolie, who is visiting Pakistan to highlight the plight of millions affected by the country`s worst floods and the need for continuing aid for the displaced, welcomed the US government`s opposition to Jones` plan.

The planned Quran burning has triggered protests in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US troops are battling Taliban fighters.

US military commanders have warned that the move could endanger American lives in Afghanistan.

In a statement, the US embassy in Islamabad condemned the Florida church`s plans to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11.

"We condemn acts that are disrespectful, intolerant and divisive. We are deeply concerned about all deliberate attempts to offend members of any religious or ethnic group," said charge d`affaires Stephen C Engelken.

"We believe firmly in freedom of religion and freedom of expression; they are universal rights, enshrined in the US Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We reaffirm our position that the deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act," he said.


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