Christian and Muslim groups have condemned a planned public burning of the Quran by a Florida church on the 9th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in new York and Washington.
A statement released by the Protestant Churches of Egypt through the United Church of Christ last week said it “regrets this destructive thought and declares total rejection of any attack against others’ religions and beliefs.”
It said Christian teaching encourages cooperation and “respect for others regardless [of] their affiliation or religion, and every person of all mankind is seen as a brother.”
The statement was in reference to a planned action by the Dove World Outreach Center, a Florida-based institution that calls itself a “New Testament Church.”
The center plans to publicly burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11 in a protest against Islam, which it says “is of the devil.” The church also refers to the Quran as “a lie.”
It says “Christians are called to live and speak the truth, and to tear down the strongholds of the kingdom of darkness.” The protest has spawned an “International Burn a Koran Day” page on the social networking site Facebook.
The Egyptian church said in response it would work with other religious bodies to denounce the planned action.
In a statement to mark the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the U.S. National Council of Churches and other bodies decried “anti-Muslim actions and plans” such as those of the Dove center and the “International Burn a Koran Day” initiative.
“Such open acts of hatred are not a witness to Christian faith, but a grave trespass against the ninth commandment, a bearing of false witness against our neighbor,” the statement said. “They contradict the ministry of Christ and the witness of the church in the world.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based group, has said it is responding to the Florida church’s planned action by distributing copies of the Quran to journalists, public officials, law enforcement authorities and others during Ramadan.
“Islamophobia is being promoted by a vocal minority of individuals and groups that seek to marginalize American Muslims and demonize Islam,” CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper recently told the Cairo-based Daily News Egypt. “CAIR believes it is important to challenge the rising level of anti-Islam sentiment in American society.”
CAIR has said it is increasingly concerned about protests and public sentiments against the construction of mosques and Islamic cultural centers in the United States.