A Florida church known for its anti-Islamic statements is planning a ceremony to burn copies of the Quran in commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has promoted on its website and other social networking sites the burning Islam’s holy book copies.
The church called for repeating its “Everybody Burn Quran Day” it celebrates “in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam.”
The church, which also launched several campaigns against homosexuality and abortion, stirred much controversy last year after distributing T-shirts that read, "Islam is of the Devil."
Church leader Dr. Terry Jones published a book under the same title and posted outside the church a poster conveying the same message.
Several Facebook groups were formed to counter the campaign like “In Protest of International Burn a Koran Day” and “Against Everybody Burn Quran Day."
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement asking Muslims to invite friends and distribute copies of the Quran.
Dr. Diaa Rashwan, an expert of Islamic movements at Egypt’s al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, stated that this is an extremely dangerous precedent that has gone beyond all logic and sensibility.
“If this happens, a serious crisis will ensue in the Muslim world,” he told Al Arabiya. “Think of what happened with the Danish cartoons. Imagine what happens if the Quran is burnt?”
Rashwan pointed out that there is no link between the Sept. 11 attacks and the Quran and that if this logic is applied, other holy books would be responsible for several crimes against humanity.
“In this case, we can blame the bible for millions of deaths throughout history. For example, the Protestant Church on behalf of Hitler could be held accountable for the 70 million who died in World War Two.”
Rashwan warned of the repercussions of such a move and called upon the American administration to interfere before a vicious circle of violence and extremism is initiated.
Think of what happened with the Danish cartoons. Imagine what happens if the Quran is burnt
Political expert Diaa Rashwan
“The U.N. Security Council has to interfere as well before a war breaks out between religions. Burning the Quran is not freedom of expression. It is a violation of the rights of one billion and 300 million Muslims whether Sunnis or Shiites.”
The ceremony to burn the Quran, Rashwan added, is not to be compared to laws issued by some European countries regarding Islamic outfit. He cited the example of France which issued a law banning the face veil in public places.
“France did ban the face veil, but did not attack Islam. There is a difference between banning a behavior and engaging in such sacrilegious actions.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).