The head of an international advocacy
organization for persecuted Christians is calling on a Florida church to cancel
its plans to burn the Quran Saturday, saying the move could bring a backlash of
Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors
USA, said the protest to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks could endanger Christians in predominantly Muslim nations and
violates Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbor.
burning of Qurans will only confirm what many Muslims believe – that Christians
hate Muslims,” Moeller said. “That is exactly the opposite message we as
Christians want to send.”
Indonesian Christians also warned of
possible backlash after Muslims organized a protest Saturday condemning the
proposed “International Burn a Koran Day.”
Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World
Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Fla., which is leading the Quran burning, said
his group wants to warn of the
dangers of Islam.
“Islam and Sharia law was responsible
for 9/11,” Jones told AFP. “We will burn Qurans because we think it’s time for Christians, for churches, for politicians to stand up and say ‘no. Islam and Sharia law is not welcome in the
This week, Gen.
David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, warned that the church’s
move could endanger U.S. troops.
is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant
problems,” Petraeus said in a statement. “Not just here, but
everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”
On Monday, hundreds of Afghans reacted
to the proposed Quran burning by torching a U.S. flag. “We know
this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president
and the entire United States,” Abdul Shakoor, 18, told the Associated Press
Roughly 3,000 people protested the
Florida church’s plans in Indonesia on Saturday in a demonstration organized by
an international Muslim group called
Hizb-ut-Tahir (Party of Liberation).
After the protest, the Indonesian
Protestant Christian Churches Union (PGI) sent a letter to President Obama
asking him to prevent the burning, AFP reported. “We’re deeply concerned
as it could create tension here in Indonesia,” PGI chairman Andreas Yewangoe said.
Jones said the church planned to
proceed with its plans but was “weighing” the decision.
“We have firmly made up our mind, but at
the same time, we are definitely praying about it,” Jones told CNN Tuesday
Later in the day, he told the AP that he
wonders how many times the U.S. can back down. He said he has received more
than 100 death threats and carries a gun.
“We think it’s time to turn the
tables, and instead of possibly blaming us for what could happen, we put the
blame where it belongs – on the people who would do it,” he said.
“And maybe instead of addressing us, we should address radical Islam and
send a very clear warning that they are not to retaliate in any form.”
to pray this week that the church will cancel its protest.
The Vatican on Wednesday denounced the planned Quran burning as “outrageous and grave.” Other Christian organizations including the National Association of Evangelicals
and the World Evangelical Alliance also have condemned the move.