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Fierce Reaction to Now-Cancelled Qu'ran Burn Plan

by HANA H. in Tehran

10 Sep 2010 04:3211 Comments

Grand ayatollah demanded Florida church "be closed forever."

miriam20100908164230860.jpg[ dispatch ] Calls by American pastor Terri Jones to burn the Muslim holy book on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which he retracted Thursday, infuriated the Muslim world and in particular the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Jones, who heads the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, had planned to torch the Qu'ran this Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

The plan had drawn worldwide condemnation. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the controversial move "disrespectful and disgraceful" and the Vatican council described the Florida church's scheme as "deplorable acts of violence."

The stance taken by the United States and the Vatican had been unsuccessful in alleviating the concerns of Muslim clerics. On Wednesday, Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani (pictured) warned U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Benedetto XVI against the move, saying, "Desecrating this holy book is the desecration of all sanctities and the prophets, especially Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary."

"The horrendous news of a U.S. church's plan to burn copies of the Qu'ran announces to the world the depth of evil, malevolence, and animosity against humane values and the school of prophets as well as the misteachings of the modern [day] Church," a statement carried by the Grand Ayatollah's website said.

Warning the Christian world of the consequences of desecrating the Qu'ran, the Shia cleric demanded the arrest of the American pastor and that "his church must be closed forever."

Safi Golpayegani is regarded in the Shia faith as a Marja' Taghlid (source of emulation). Clerics with that status have ultimate power over their followers, who are bound by sharia to carry out the orders of their Marja'. They are among the order of clergy who have the power to order their followers to engage in jihad.

The Iranian interests section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington also addressed the matter, in a message congratulating Iranian Americans on Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The communication implored Iranian nationals residing in the United States to help spread the "humanitarian message of Islam" and the "Qu'ran's message of peace and friendship" against the group of "ignorant individuals who want to burn the Qu'ran."

"Kindly give us the [email] addresses of your non-Iranian friends who are interested in learning about Islam and the Qu'ran, and the interests section will provide you with a free copy of the Holy Book," the message by caretaker Mostafa Rahmati read.

Despite the fierce reaction of Iranian clergy to burning the Qu'ran, setting fire to the holy books of other faiths is not unheard of in the Islamic Republic.

On May 30, the Principlist Alef website quoted an unnamed security official who claimed that U.S. troops in Iraq are responsible for smuggling doctored Bibles and Torahs into Iran via West Azerbaijan province.

The unnamed source revealed that hundreds of copies of doctored Bibles and Torahs had been seized in the Sardasht border area and burned. He did not elaborate on how security forces had established the distorted nature of the sacred books.

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

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I do understand how they feel towards the religion, however a gun is not dangerous, but the person who is using it is the dangerous one. You cannot blame the religion for the idiots and the ignorant who committed these murders on 9/11.

Iranie / September 10, 2010 5:16 AM

i'd love to hear him issue a fatwa against bruning national flags (just as sacred to some as koran is to him) of other nations.

In pakistan, they burned the US flag to protest burning of their holy book! now that's irony.

Anonymous / September 10, 2010 6:22 AM

Seriously, I do not know of any Iranian living in Iran who cares if this stupid priest burns Quran or not. This Grand Ayatollah has failed the nation and he knows it too well.

Where the hell was he hidden when Iranian youth were beaten to death and raped in Kahrizak ?

Safi and likes of him are a disgrace to Islam, Iran and "humane values and the school of prophets."

And seriously when there is no job for university graduates and corruption is widespread no Iranian cares about Safi comments. But Iranian establishment wants to be recognized as the true defenders of Islam and Prophet Mohammad 's legacy hence they any Ayatollah,Grand or Small, issues a statement for any trivial matter like anybody cares.

Amin / September 10, 2010 9:01 AM

I like the reaction of blogger "Majma Divanegan" (Assembly of the Madmen or Lunatics) who writes that while Tehran seem to be outraged by the plans to burn the Koran, the rights of religious minorities namely the Bahai's are being violated in the Islamic Republic on a daily basis. Scroll down to the end of this RFE/RL report:

Persian: http://divanesara2.blogspot.com/2010/09/blog-post_918.html

Catherine / September 10, 2010 4:43 PM


.MARVINTYRONE ANDERSON / September 11, 2010 8:10 AM

Obviously the person who posted the first comment is totally clueless about the VIOLENT,

mystic / September 11, 2010 11:48 AM

Burning the Qu'ran, no matter how misguided, is free speech. There should be no legal repercussions. That's how our country works. The response from the muslim world actually strikingly emphasizes the differences between our world and theirs. The only potential transgression here may be the spirit in which it is done. They can conduct the protest in such a manner as to cross into hate crime territory.

Caveman have fire. Fire burn. Caveman like fire.

Anna Mossetty / September 11, 2010 8:34 PM

Please do not equate flag burning with Religious text burning since American did it most publicly and often not too long ago and it was thier own flag they burned!
Free speech has nothing to do with "fire" Pastor Jones may ridicule in words how silly, wrong unrealistic whatever the Qu'ran is, the Jewish religious texts, Budhist, and Hindu texts etc etc religious texts. But just like he would never dream of setting fire, (flames) to a version of the bible with which he disagrees, he must not do it to the Qu'ran. Christian morality ??
For me also his comments, if unconstitutional, are illegal and he should be forbidden to repeat them because that's our law.
Two wrongs never made a right.

J.V.Hodgson / September 12, 2010 10:57 AM

J.V. Hodgson,

There is nothing in the U.S. constitution that forbids burning of anything. Be it a flag or religious text. In fact, the U.S. constitution rather encourages such actions. Every person is allowed to burn a flag or religious text. As long as they do it in a way to not physically harm others.

All laws trying to forbid such actions have been ruled unconstitutional. Becuase U.S. citizens have the right to free expression. Regardless of who likes that expression, or not.

I personally like the toilet paper made of the Koran, and the U.S. flag, among others. Shall that be made illegal in the U.S.? Good luck trying to get that pass the constitution.

muhammad billy bob / September 13, 2010 12:35 AM

only an islamic super power lyk iran can stop such evil! long live the republic

Ali Haji Tabar / September 13, 2010 1:52 AM

One of the news reporter ask another How would Jesus feel.Apparent the reporter,felt Jesus would be upset. I disagree,our God and there God is two different God.If you read your Bible you will see that there is many Gods and belief in the Old Testament,which were pagan Gods.The bible which we believe is the only Word of God,and he called what others were doing evil,and worshipping false idols etc.So to say what Jesus would think...He would say they are the devil children and yes they can come to Jesus and turn from there way and be forgive,but they would have to leave the Koran and put there faith in Jesus.Don't make God in your image or twist His words to fit your needs of what you want to believe.

Anonymous / September 13, 2010 2:37 AM