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Christians' Qur'an action keeps peace

Muslim clerics praise protests against book-burning stunt in Florida

Christians' Qur'an action keeps peace
Church leaders condemning burning of the Qur'an in a consultation at St. Peter's school in Lahore reporter, Karachi

March 28, 2011

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Muslims clerics have expressed their appreciation to local Christians for protesting against the burning of a Qur’an in the US. Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council (scholars of Islamic law), issued a statement in which he condemned Terry Jones, the US pastor who oversaw the incident on March 20, for trying to create tensions between Muslims and Christians. “No Muslim could think of disrespecting or giving blasphemous remarks against Jesus, Moses, Jacob, Joseph and other prophets. The US and the Pope might have taken action against the pastor. Protests by the Christian community in Pakistan have calmed down emotions of Muslims for which we are grateful,” said the March 26 statement. Minorities spent a tense week after Jones oversaw the burning by an evangelical preacher in a Florida church. The nine Christian members of the Punjab Assembly wore black armbands on March 25, observed as a “protest day” across the country. The same day, Church leaders at a Karachi conference refuted a rumour on news channels that clerics had burned a Bible in Quetta, Balochistan province. “Though it did not happen yet; the west will not bother to save us from the extremism we face here. We need to protest peacefully with our Muslim brethren to counter a violent perspective of Christianity”, said Father Pascal Robert, chairman of Idara Amn-o-Insaf (committee for justice and peace). Julius Salik, former federal minister for community development, observed a special “Ash Day” on March 24 as a protest against the Qur’an burning. Wearing sackcloth, Salik showered ash on his head for three hours while observing a fast for peace at his home in Islamabad, the capital. “The thousand year old Biblical way of penance was repeated to mark grievance over the incident. UN must take strict notice of such activities which deserve world condemnation. I appeal to the Christian community to mourn for 27 days and hoist black flags until Good Friday’, pleaded the convener of World Minorities Alliance” in a press statement. PA13765.1647

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