Leaders from Christian and Muslim bodies across the country gathered at the Archbishop’s House on Wednesday to condemn an American church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Calling the campaign insensitive, disrespectful and a publicity-seeking act, Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias, issued a special statement on behalf of the Catholic Church of India affirming solidarity between the two communities.
“We dissociate ourselves from the planned programme and condemn it as contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We hope and pray that better sense will prevail and the programme will be cancelled,” said the Cardinal.
The Archbishop added that Florida's Dove Centre, which initiated the campaign in July, has an insignificant following of 200 members. "Perhaps we should not overreact and give it too much importance," he said.
Muslim maulanas present at the meeting emphasised that the Quran or the Muslim community had nothing to do with 9/11.
“Interface dialogue between Americans and Muslims must continue if they are to understand each other," said Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi, president of the All-India Shia Personal Law Board.
Abraham Mathai, vice chairman of the State Minorities Commission, said the government of the United States needs to take a strong condemnatory stand against the campaign in order to maintain communal harmony.
“Had this happened in India, the perpetrators could have been booked by law,” he said.
The Cardinal assured the group that he would send his statement to the US government. "Through my Bishop colleagues in America, I will also try to send my message to Dove Centre.”