Al-Azhar condemns honoring of Danish cartoonist and threat to burn Qurans

Heated reactions continue throughout the Islamic world towards the participation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a ceremony honoring the Danish cartoonist who so outraged Muslims all over the world by his offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him). This anger is further inflamed by the announcement of American priest Terry Jones that he will burn hundreds of Qurans to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 this coming Saturday.

Al-Azhar warned against the burning of the Qurans which they described as religious terrorism and deeply offensive to Muslims around the world.

Mohamed Othman, a member of the Islamic Research Academy and the Academy of Muslim Jurists in America said, “This reckless priest has renounced the Christian principle of tolerance. This foolish act goes against all that is known of the tolerance of Jesus Christ and Christianity.” Othman also condemned the participation of Merkel in the honoring of the Danish cartoonist, saying this will only fuel Muslims feelings of resentment and anger.

Islamic Research Academy member Abdel Muti Bayoumi said if Jones carries out his threat it will ruin relations between Washington and the Islamic world. He also said if the US Government is unable to put a stop to this act, this will be the latest form of religious terrorism.

Bayoumi went on to describe Merkel’s participation as representing the two-faced European personality which he called unbalanced. He said Merkel’s condemnation of the burning of the Koran while participating in the honoring of the cartoonist demonstrates this imbalance.

Dean of the Faculty of Shari'a at Al Azhar University, Gouda Abdel-Ghani Bassiouni said that threats such as Jones’s are not new in this war on Islam and Muslims. He said the threat was immoral and anti-religious, a type of extremism and an act of unfounded hostility towards Islam.  Suad Saleh, also from Al Azhar, described the threat as a terrorist act that will encourage hostilities against the United States in the defense of religion.

In relation to the threat, the Muslim World League called on US Islamic organizations, centers and associations to take all necessary legal means to stop Jones and his followers committing this crime which they called senseless. The league condemned Jones’s threat as well as his proposal to make the anniversary of 9/11 “Burn a Quran Day”. They also warned of the implications that this would have on international relations. Secretary General of the League, Abdullah Bin Turki described the threat as a nasty attack on Islam and the 1.5 billion Muslims of the world.

The threat was also condemned by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Islamic al-Jabha in Jordan, the secretary-general of the Arab League Amr Moussa, the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.

Ayatollah Lutfullah Safi Gulpagayni warned, “The Pope and other Christian heads of state will find out that if this inhumane act is carried out it will warrant an attack on President Obama himself. As for the priest, he should be arrested and his church should be closed.” 

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said in a statement that the proposed burning of Quran’s is, “a serious insult to a book that is considered holy by its followers.”

The Council said it had received the news with deep concern, and that deplorable, violent acts like 9/11 cannot be dealt with by similar attacks by a fundamentalist Christian group in Florida.

Terry Jones, leader of the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Florida, announced his intention of burning of hundreds of Qurans in public on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in a move condemned both within the United States and abroad. The United States fears the move will increase the risk of attacks on its soldiers in Afghanistan.

Translated from the Arabic Edition


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