Evangelical leaders decry church plans to burn Qur’ans

August 23, 2010

The National Association of Evangelicals has condemned plans by a Florida church to burn copies of the Qur'an on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"The proposed burning of Qur'ans would be profoundly offensive to Mus­lims worldwide, just as Christians would be insulted by the burning of Bibles," the NAE said in a statement on July 29. "Such an act would escalate tensions between members of the two faiths in the United States and around the world."

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, announced its plans on a Facebook page "in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam." The announcement adds that "Islam is of the devil!"

Evangelical leaders said the plans for the burning should be canceled. "The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned Sep­tember 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ," said NAE president Leith Anderson.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, joined the NAE in condemning the Florida church's plans, saying: "The burning of the book holy to the world's Mus­lims is morally repugnant."

Likewise, the National Council of Churches, noting the August 11 start of Islam's fasting and prayer month of Ramadan, lamented growing instances of "intolerance against Muslims in words and deeds." The NCC statement de­clared that the planned burning of Qur'ans contradicts Christ's call "to love your neighbor as yourself."  —RNS