Quran burning would have been a disaster: NY imam

Burning the Quran, as earlier planned by the Florida-based pastor, would have been a disaster as it would have strengthened the radicals in the Muslim world.

Washington: Burning the Quran, as earlier
planned by the Florida-based pastor, would have been a
disaster as it would have strengthened the radicals in the
Muslim world, a cleric linked to the building of an Islamic
centre near Geound Zero said on Sunday.

"It would have created a disaster in the Muslim world.

It would have strengthened the radicals. It would have
enhanced the possibility of terrorist acts against America and
American interests," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said.

The Imam said not burning the Quran in lieu of
relocating the planned mosque from the Ground Zero site near
the World Trade Center site cannot be equated.

"You can`t equate the two. How can you equate burning
of any person`s scripture with an attempt to build interfaith
dialogue? This is a house with multi-faith stakeholders, with
multi- faith partners intended to work together towards
building peace," Rauf told the ABC news in an interview.

He said the recent controversy has heightened the
concern among Muslims and there is a spike of Islamophobia.

"The recent controversy, I think, has heightened the concern among Muslims, and we feel that there is a spike of
Islamophobia, which is reaching and perhaps even possibly
exceeding what happened right after 9/11," Rauf said in
response to a question.

He said American Muslims are very happy and they
thrive in this country.

"One of the misperceptions that exists in the Muslim
world, which needs to be fixed, is the perception that Muslims
in America are living in very, very, very bad circumstances.
They cannot practice religion freely," he said.

?It is not the truth at all. The fact is, we are
practicing. We fast, we pray, we do our prayers. We are able
to do that. The laws protect us. Our political systems protect
us. We enjoy those freedoms in this country. The Muslim world
needs to recognize that, the Imam said.

The controversial US pastor Terry Jones, who drew
global outrage for his plans to torch copies of Quran, has
vowed that he will never do so, even if a mosque is built near
Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 terror attacks here.

"We will definitely not burn the Quran, no," pastor
Terry Jones of Florida told NBC.

PTI

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