Like many other Christians elsewhere in the world, I condemn the plan by a pastor in Florida to burn copies of the Qur’an.
That is nothing but a hate crime and has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or the values of love, compassion and forgiveness that Jesus promoted.
Similarly, I don’t see anything wrong behind plans for an Islamic centre that is open to inter-religious dialogue in New York. (Lest we forget, Muslims too died at the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001.)
Why don’t Christians and Muslims work together? There are so many problems in the world today. For starters, churches and mosques could organise joint relief efforts for the flood victims in Pakistan and beyond or even for the homeless and hungry within their own countries. Muslims, Christians, those of other faiths and people of goodwill everywhere should join hands and demand an end to war, arms spending, corruption and the economic exploitation of people and the environment. Wouldn’t that be a better witness to their faiths?
Here is the full text of a memorandum submitted by the Youth Wing of the Christian Council of Churches to the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Full text of memorandum of protest on threats by Dr Terry Jones from Dove World Outreach Centre to burn the Qur’an on 11 September
The Youth Wing of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (“CCM Youth”) is deeply concerned with the escalation of tensions in the global community following news of threats by Dr. Terry Jones from The Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainsville, Florida, to burn copies of the Muslim holy text, the Quran, on 11 September 2010.
Through this memorandum, CCM Youth calls on the Government of the United States to put a stop to this disrespectful and provocative act under the guise of raising awareness. We believe that any proposed acts of banning or burning another faith’s holy text is tantamount to a form of hate crime that must be dealt with utmost severity.
We are very disappointed that the call for the International Quran Burning Day was initiated by a Christian pastor, as we see this as incongruent with the message, manner and model of Jesus Christ, namely, His love and wisdom even when speaking out against authorities on matters of principle and justice. We conclude that this call and act by Dr. Terry Jones and the small congregation of about 50 that he is pastoring to be an utter rebellion to the fundamental Christian character to love our neighbours as ourselves and to be peacemakers as exemplified by Jesus Christ.
We fear that the failure to stop this atrocious act will bring catastrophic ramifications not only to the United States but will also adversely impact global communities. CCM Youth wishes to reiterate that burning religious texts of other faiths is a harmful, insulting and irresponsible act of provocation that will severely destabilize plural societies around the world and will bring about serious repercussions not only on Christian communities, but all minority communities worldwide.
In such volatile times, we urge the Government of the United States to protect all American Muslims and Christians alike from any potential hate attacks that may arise from this irresponsible act. We call on the American community to uphold the fundamental rights of those who follow another faith, to respect their rights to their own holy scriptures and to put an immediate end to further instigations which are destructive to world peace, by breeding religious hatred and anger.
Furthermore, in remembrance of the anniversary of September 11, we recommend that all governments diligently protect all communities of all religions from being exploited by any form of extremist and racist behaviour.
We also recommend that all governments immediately stop any situations that threaten to destroy our global unity cord to ensure that things do not unravel out of control.
Undeniably, September 11 has become a day of sadness and grief, marred forever in history, not just for the loved ones of the victims on that dreadful day but also for the entire world community.
Therefore, in the efforts to promote world peace, we urge the Government of the United States and the United Nations to turn September 11 into an international day of reconciliation and just peace, upholding the rights of every single human life created in the image of God Almighty, henceforth building a common place for all under the sun.
Youth Moderator and Exco Member
Council of Churches of Malaysia
8 September 2010