Islamic nation heads ask Obama to stop Quran burning

An American pastor`s threat to burn copies of the holy Quran has stirred outrage in Islamic world with kings and presidents of Muslim nations joining hands to condemn the act and asking US President to intervene to stop it.

Last Updated: Sep 09, 2010, 19:27 PM IST

Washington: An American pastor`s
threat to burn copies of the holy Quran has stirred outrage in
Islamic world with kings and presidents of Muslim nations
joining hands to condemn the act and asking US President to
intervene to stop it.

Barack Obama to whom the Muslim leaders appealed
joined them in condemning the planned act, saying, "It will
amount to recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda."

"This could lead to serious violence in places like
Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama said, hoping that Rev Terry
Jones listens to the pleas of the world.

Obama told ABC`s `Good Morning America` show that the
burning "would increase recruitments of individuals who would
be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or
European cities."

Labelling the act as a stunt, Obama said such an act
was contrary "to American values which were built on the
notion of freedom and religious tolerance".

Slamming the action, Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari warned that the act could inflame Muslim sentiments
across the world.

"This outrage would cause irreparable damage to
interfaith harmony and also to world peace," a statement
issued by the President`s office said as hours ticked to the
threat by a clergyman of a tiny church in Florida to carry out
the act on Saturday.

His Interior Minister Rehman Malik dispatched a letter
addressed to Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, asking
the agency to stop the "insane" pastor. Protests and
demonstrations took place in parts of the country, threatening
that if the burning went ahead it would signal the end of
America.

The President of the world`s biggest Muslim nation,
Indonesia, expressed fears that if the burning went ahead,
efforts by both Jakarta and Washington to build a bridge
between the Western world and Islam "would end".

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wrote to Obama to say that
the planned burning could spark "conflict among religions".

Yudhoyono told Obama to personally intervene to stop
the outrage.

Florida`s Dove World Outreach Centre is planning to
burn copies of the Quran on Saturday`s anniversary of the 9/11
attacks on New York and Washington.

The Centre`s pastor Terry Jones unmoved by worldwide
condemnation has vowed to go ahead with the burning.

US authorities have said there is little they can do
to stop the pastor from going ahead as the country`s
constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

Malaysia, Bahrain and UAE branded the act as "heinous"
and joined in calls to Washington to stop the event from going
ahead.

A Danish cartoonist who sparked Muslim outrage in 2006
by making a drawing of Prophet Mohammad with a bomb for a
turban said that burning the Quran was going too far.

"Provocation should lead to reflection, to
enlightenment, to knowledge. In this case, burning of the
Quran, this is really not the case," said the 75-year-old Kurt
Westergaard told a German daily.

All the top US and NATO forces commanders in
Afghanistan have warned that the act could trigger violence
against Western forces in the country.

PTI