US & Canada

In quotes: Koran-burning threat

A small US church's plan to burn copies of the Koran has caused global outrage. Although Pastor Terry Jones has put his plan on hold, the anger has not yet subsided.

Afghan President HAMID KARZAI

By burning the Koran, they cannot harm it. The Koran is in the hearts and minds of 1.5 billion people. Humiliation of the holy book represents the humiliation of people. I hope that this decision will be stopped... so that the world can live in peace and stability and respect of each other.


This is a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities.

Nato Secretary General ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN

I am happy to see that he has put this terrible act on hold at least. It is a very disrespectful act. I urge all people to demonstrate clear respect for other people's faith.

UK Foreign Secretary WILLIAM HAGUE

The burning of the Koran would be offensive not just to Muslims but to all supporters of religious freedom and tolerance worldwide. Eid is a time of celebration, charitable giving and family gathering. To seek to mar it in this calculated way would be selfish and provocative in the extreme. We hope that the individuals involved will reconsider and refrain from carrying out this act.


We stand here collectively as the world is facing a great threat and danger. What is being planned by Reverend Terry Jones and his followers... not only wounds the feelings of the Islamic Ummah [community], but I am also certain the feeling of the followers of other faiths; and indeed can threaten international peace and security.


We hope that the US authorities will take strong action to prevent such an outrage being committed. While we await the action of the US authorities, we would appeal to the media in India - both print and visual media - to refrain from telecasting visuals or publishing photographs of the deplorable act.

Nigerian President GOODLUCK JONATHAN

This action cannot be justified at anytime and certainly is doubly unjustified coming at the holy month of Ramadan. To my Muslim brothers and sisters, I urge you to show restraint while we deal with this issue as we continue to build and strengthen our fortress for religious tolerance and continuing peaceful coexistence.

US commander in Afghanistan GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS

It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort. It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world, we are engaged with the Islamic community.

German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL

If a fundamentalist, evangelical pastor in America wants to burn the Koran on 11 September, then I find this simply disrespectful, even abhorrent and simply wrong. Europe... is a place where freedom of belief, of religion, where respect for beliefs and religions, are valuable commodities.

Danish cartoonist KURT WESTERGAARD

Satire is provocation. Provocation should lead to reflection, to enlightenment, to knowledge. In this case, this is really not the case.


[The proposed burning is a] Zionist plot that is against the teachings of all divine prophets. Zionists and their supporters are on their way to collapse and dissolution and such last-ditch actions will not save them, but multiply the pace of their fall and annihilation.

UN Secretary General BAN KI-MOON

Such actions cannot be condoned by any religion. They contradict efforts of the United Nations and many people around the world to promote tolerance, inter-cultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions.


Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection.