Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday
denounced "hatred" and "violence" after protests in South Asia
over an American pastor`s threat to burn the Koran on the
anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
"I pray for the victims and I ask respect for
religious freedom and that the logic of reconciliation and
peace prevail over hatred and violence," the pontiff said
after Afghan forces seeking to disperse a demonstration killed
two protesters at the weekend.
Another protest today saw hundreds of Afghans pour
onto the streets of Kabul over the plan -- cancelled days ago
-- by Pastor Terry Jones to burn hundreds of copies of the
Muslim holy book to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
on New York and Washington in 2001.
The pontiff, speaking after his weekly general
audience gathering some 7,000 pilgrims at the Vatican, said he
was following "with concern" events in Afghanistan as well as
in Pakistan and India.
Last Friday hundreds of protesters rallied in two
Pakistani cities -- north-central Multan and southern Karachi
-- burning American flags and calling for Jones to be hanged.
In Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, an angry mob torched a
missionary school in protest after a group of Christians tore
up pages of the Quran in Washington on the actual 9/11
Jones cancelled the plan to burn Korans after enormous
pressure from world leaders including US President Barack
Obama. But the mere threat to burn the Muslim holy book
sparked riots and protests around the world.