Quran Burning – Facts and Fiction

Sep 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Daily Nawa-i-Waqt

Daily Nawa-i-WaqtWhile the primary focus of this blog has, so far, been English language media, this represents but a small part of the media – and an even smaller part of the problem of inaccurate and misleading stories.

Take, for example, a front page story from the Nawa-i-Waqt newspaper about a Christian church in Florida, USA that has organized a rally to burn copies of the Holy Quran. This article makes the claim that “Western countries have resorted to presumptuous attacks”, and reports that some Ulema have condemned the West and the United Nations for their silence.

But the truth is, there has not been a silence on this matter. It has been widely condemned by Christian religious groups in the US and even the the US government and the UN.

A quick Google search revealed that a newspaper of Baptist Christians in Texas reports that the National Association of Evangelicals has condemned the threat of burning Quran and demanded that it be canceled. Other Christian religious leaders have also condemned the threats. In fact, the newspaper USA Today reported that the officials in the city denied any permits for such an act.

This is an act being threatened by a small group of extremists, and clearly does not represent any official action by American Christians any more than the actions of Hizbut Tahrir represent the official position of the majority of Muslims here.

It should also be noticed that recently in the US there are even churches that have burned bibles.

A North Carolina pastor says his church plans to burn Bibles and books by Christian authors on Halloween to light a fire under true believers.

Pastor Marc Grizzard told Asheville TV station WLOS that the King James version of the Bible is the only one his small western North Carolina church follows. He says all other versions, such as the Living Bible, are “satanic” and “perversions” of God’s word.

Obviously, nobody will accuse the US or the UN of being anti-Christian. And yet they even allow the burning of bibles in America. This is because it is considered part of the right of free speech granted in their Constitution.

Despite this freedom, there has been a loud outcry in the Christian community against the plans for Quran burning, as shown above. But that is not all.

American Ambassador the United Nations Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe has written a public letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right Navanethem Pillay supporting complaints from Ambassador Zamir Akram and condemning the threat to burn any Qu’rans or show any disrespect to Islam.

As United States Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, I wanted to register strong support for the request sent to you by my colleague, Ambassador Zamir Akram of Pakistan, in his capacity as Coordinator of the OIC Group on Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues in Geneva, dated July 9, 2010. In his letter, Ambassador Akram called to your attention a report that the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida plans to hold an “international burn a Koran Day” on 11 September 2010 in alleged remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and to demonstrate against “the evil of Islam.”

The United States government in no way condones such acts of disrespect. To the contrary, the United States is deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups. President Obama made clear in Cairo in his speech on June 4, 2009 that he considers it part of his responsibility as President to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they occur, a responsibility I share. I also note that many Americans of all faiths disagree with this initiative by the Dove Outreach Center. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, for example, is using education and outreach to counter this “Burn the Koran” campaign with a campaign to share the Koran.

As you know, Madame High Commissioner, the United States strongly believes that the best antidote to intolerance is a combination of robust legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes, proactive government outreach to minority religious groups, and the vigorous defense of both freedom of religion and expression. As we have discussed in the past, the United States supports the full use of your office and moral authority to speak out against intolerance and instances of hate speech where they occur.

The front page report in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt is misleading and based on false rumours that are easily disproven with the smallest amount of research. Considering that the vast majority take their news from Urdu sources, it is essential that the people get fair and accurate information, not hysterical falsehoods and religious exploitation.

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