09/03/2010, 00.00
INDIA
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Card Gracias slams the ‘Burn the Qur‘an’ initiative, contrary to Christ

by Nirmala Carvalho
The archbishop of Mumbai brings together the city’s Christian and Muslim leaders to condemn a proposal by a US clergyman to commemorate 9/11 by burning the Qur‘an.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – In a strong show of solidarity towards the Muslim community, senior Indian religious leaders (pictured) met today at the Archbishop’s House in Mumbai to condemn the ‘Burn the Qur‘an’ initiative undertaken by a fringe US Christian group headed by a Rev Terry Jones in Florida to commemorate 9/11. Led by Card Oswald Gracias, Christians and Muslims have focused on peace and brotherhood.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Gul Kripalani, a former president of the Indian Merchants Chamber and a Christian rights activist, said, “It is time we told the world that Christians do not believe in violence and hatred. This is evident in the thousands of educational and charitable institutions catering to people of all faiths that we run across the country. We have to come out openly and stop the extremists from abroad who are spreading hate.”

Zaheer Mabbs Rizvi, secretary of the All India Ulema Council, thanked the cardinal for organising the meeting. If “one voice” is raised “for hatred, there” must be in response “a united and unanimous voice of peace and harmony.” This, he said, must “be the beginnings of an interfaith initiatives and dialogues for peace.

In a press release, the archdiocese of Mumbai slammed the proposal to burn the Qur‘an, saying that this is “all the more shocking because such a campaign goes totally contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“In His life and teaching Jesus respected all religions and all men and women who sincerely seek God and His Will in their lives.”

Thus, “on behalf of all the Christian leaders of Mumbai and the Christian Community here, we disassociate ourselves from” this initiative. “As President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, I also condemn, on behalf of the whole Catholic Church in India, this totally insensitive and disrespectful act towards the Holy Koran.”

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