Koran-burning plan condemned at London mosque

Pastor Terry Jones in Florida Pastor Terry Jones has now put on hold his plans to burn copies of the Koran at his small US church

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Plans by a US preacher to burn copies of the Koran, now on hold, is a case of "hatred being spread", an estimated 11,000 people have been told in a mosque in south-west London.

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said "extremism" was "never a true reflection" of any religion.

He addressed the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden ahead of Friday prayers.

There have been protests in Afghanistan about the plans of pastor Terry Jones.

Start Quote

Religious extremism, be it Christian extremism, Muslim extremism, or any other kind is never a true reflection of the religion”

End Quote Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

He has now said he has no intention to burn copies at his church in Florida.

But his initial remarks have led to thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets of Afghanistan, with the country's president, Hamid Karzai, saying it was an insult to Islam.

And three people were shot when a protest near a Nato base in the north-east of Afghanistan became violent.

President Barack Obama had warned it would be an al-Qaeda "recruitment bonanza".

Speaking at the mosque in Morden, where there was a heavy police presence, Mr Ahmad said: "Religious extremism, be it Christian extremism, Muslim extremism, or any other kind is never a true reflection of the religion.

All faiths

"A number of churches have condemned this act. There is nothing wrong with intellectual or theological debate, but this should be conducted within the bounds of decency and tolerance.

"Instead, what we are seeing is hatred being spread."

The national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, Rafiq Hayat, added that while he was pleased the plans had been postponed, he was disappointed they had not been cancelled.

"The way this threat has been used to force a change of plans for the Ground Zero mosque is a sad and disconcerting outcome for not just Muslims but for people of all faiths," he said.

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