Christian leaders in Asia are criticizing plans by a Florida pastor to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, saying Muslim radicals will use the incident as motivation for attacking Christian minorities in the region.
Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida said he intends to continue with his plans to burn the Quran despite the consequences it may have for Christian minorities in Asia. According to Fides news agency, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, Bishop Lawrence Saldanha, strongly condemned the idea and said it was “contrary to the respect for all religions, contrary to our teachings, and to our faith.”
Nazir S. Bhatti, president of the Pakistan Christian Congress called on Jones to cancel the Quran burning, saying it would be used “by Muslim radicals as a pretext for attacking Christians.”
Likewise, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, urged Christian and Muslim leaders to issue a statement rejecting this act as opposed to the teachings of Christ.
In addition, the secretary general of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Johannes Pujasumarta, told Fides that the Church will continue to pray “that nothing unpleasant happens in Indonesia or the whole world because of this irresponsible act.”