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Quran burning an 'abhorrent act': UN

world Updated: Sep 09, 2010 03:19 IST
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Describing the act as "abhorrent," the United Nations has urged the organisers of the Quran burning in Florida not to proceed with their plan on 9/11, which could derail the efforts of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

"If such an abhorrent act were to be implemented, it would only contribute to fuelling the arguments of those who are indeed against peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan," Staffan de Mistura, said the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative.

"It could also put in jeopardy the efforts of so many Afghans and foreigners who are trying to assist Afghanistan to find its own way to peace and stability within the framework of its own culture, traditions and, indeed, religion," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also urged against the proposed Quran burning.

"Any such action, if it were carried out, would contradict the efforts of the United Nations and many people from around the world to promote tolerance...and lead to further discord and polarisation between communities," Ban's spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists.

This week, hundreds of Afghans demonstrated in Kabul against the burning of the Quran by changing 'Death to America.'

General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, has also warned that burning Quran by a Florida church would put at risk the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Despite protests against the plan from several quarters, the Dove World Outreach Center run by Pastor Terry Jones have decided to go ahead with the plan.

"As of right now, we feel that this message is that important," Jones told CBS, adding "We are still determined to do it, yes."

"We want to send a clear message to radical Muslims, that in the US. we are not interested in Shariah law and Shariah courts. We have a Constitution, and we hope to uphold it,” he had said.

The Quran burning idea is also pitting the right of free expression against the need to promote tolerance among cultures and religion.

While describing the plan as "distasteful," New York mayor Michael Bloomberg supported the right of a pastor to burn the Qurans.

"I don't think he would like it if somebody burned a book in his religion that he thinks is holy.... But the First Amendment protects everybody and you can't say we're going to apply the First Amendment in only those cases where we are in agreement," he said.