09/10/2010, 00.00
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Demonstrations against pastor, church set on fire in Pakistan

The Muslim world reacts to the ‘Burn-the-Qur‘an’ with protests. Christians come under pressure, despite their condemnation of the initiative. For the bishop of Lahore, Jones is “insane”.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Reactions in the Muslim world to ‘Burn-the-Qur‘an’ Day promoted by a US clergyman have included setting fire to one church and attacking others in Pakistan, demonstrations organised by Islamic groups with thousands of people in the streets of Indonesia and Afghanistan, and one death reported in the latter, this despite the fact that Rev Terry Jones, after considerable equivocation, said finally that he would not go through with his initiative.

Reports from Pakistan say that Muslim extremists have attacked three churches in Narowal District, setting one on fire in Saidpur village. Extremist groups have also announced that they would burn all Christian churches in the country if Jones burnt the Qur‘an.

Pakistan’s .8 million Christians are under tremendous pressure, even though as soon as news about the Florida clergyman’s plans became public knowledge, Churches and Christian organisations firmly condemned the initiative.

Mgr Alexander John Malik, bishop of Lahore, said that Terry Jones was “insane”, adding that he was getting a lot of cheap popularity for such an evil act.

Protests have erupted around the Muslim world. One person died in Afghanistan when a crowd gathered in front of a NATO base to protest. At least five Afghan provinces have seen similar protests. In northern Kabul, hundreds of demonstrators gathered, whilst another 2,000 marched on a government building in Farah. Similar occurrences have been reported in Badghis, Ghor and Herat.

This morning, Afghan President Karzai warned the pastor against burning the Qur‘an.  Indonesia and other countries have also undertaken diplomatic initiatives.

Today, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry called Rev Jones’ initiative “satanic” and “provocative”. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference called it an "outrageous path of hatred”.


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See also
Mazar-i-Sharif, UN attacked: 20 dead. Links to the Florida Koran burning
Iraqi Christians also condemn Qur‘an burning, says Kirkuk archbishop
For Petraeus, burning the Qur‘an is useless and dangerous
Card Gracias slams the ‘Burn the Qur‘an’ initiative, contrary to Christ
Two Christians killed, churches burned: extremists respond to Florida Koran burning


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