Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beitawi: Koran burning abhorrent religious bigotry

MP Sheikh Hamed al-Beitawi, the head of the Palestine scholars association, charged that American Rev. Terry Jones’s call to make September 11 an international annual Koran burning day is “a despicable act and abhorrent religious bigotry.”

“We strongly condemn this filthy call, which conflicts with divine law and international laws and treaties, which explicitly call for respect for the beliefs and religions of others,” Beitawi said.

“The call is an open challenge, prejudice to the doctrine and sentiments of two billion Muslims, and an explicit call to racism and hatred,” he went on to say.

Rev. Terry Jones announced plans to publicly burn copies of the Koran Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attack in 2001.

Palestinian religious affairs minister Dr. Taleb Abu Sha’ar said in a statement Friday that the Koran burning is a direct threat to global stability and may negatively affect the nature of ties and exchange of Arab, Islamic, and international interests.

Burning the Koran is an unprecedented step and an unacceptable crime, and will spark strife amid world communities and create feelings of hostility and hatred among religions, as a natural reaction to constant provocations and frequent abuse by extremist religious groups, Abu Sha’ar said.

He called on the Muslim masses the world over “to take a stand for Allah’s scripture” and not allow extremist groups to touch it in any form. Saudi Arabia in particular should pressure the U.S. administration to thwart the planned offense, he concluded.

The Palestinian scholars' league warned that the act “goes past all red lines” and would spark strife that may “eat everything and everybody”.

The league said the U.S. is responsible to stop the act and to translate its human rights slogans, including the freedom of worship without offending followers of other faiths.

The Union of Islamic Organizations in Europe said it is clear that “the wave of heinous acts” would never have escalated if it was not for neglect and even encouragement by several media, political, and even religious communities.

Such abusive practices should have been deterred instead of being left out of control, the Islamic union said in a written statement released Thursday.

The organization said it was concerned that the offenders would be welcomed by official parties in European countries, similar to Germany’s official participation in honoring the cartoonist who shocked the world by publishing provocative and hateful sketches demonizing Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Not only does the rise in heinous acts target Islam, but also infringes on human values cherished by contemporary societies, civilized behavior, and peaceful coexistence, the union said.

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