Religious leaders from the major faiths in America have condemned plans to mark this weekend’s 9/11 attack anniversary by burning copies of the Koran. Simmering anti-Islam passions in the US have been further stoked by a Florida pastor calling for the burning of the Muslim holy book.
Christians, Jews and Muslims denounced ‘outright bigotry’ and an ‘anti-Muslim’ frenzy in the United States ahead of Saturday’s ninth anniversary.
“This is not the real America and it never has been and it never should be,” said Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington. “And so one thing that we are doing in this document is saying, ‘This is what we believe is the real America. It is a place where religions are respected.”
Anti-Muslim feelings were already running high over plans for an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero in New York. And, although Pastor Terry Jones has only a handful of followers at his little-known Florida church, his campaign against radical Islam threatens implications much further away.
In Afghanistan, America’s senior commander General David Petraeus has warned that burning the Koran could spark a backlash and put his soldiers’ lives at risk. Protests in Kabul itself show how quickly Muslim anger has grown.