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Updated: September 8, 2010 19:26 IST

Move to burn Quran outrageous, says Vatican

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File photo of Pope John Paul II and Iran's President Mohammad Khatami in March 11, 1999 in the Pope's library at the Vatican during a special audience.
Associated Press
File photo of Pope John Paul II and Iran's President Mohammad Khatami in March 11, 1999 in the Pope's library at the Vatican during a special audience.

The Vatican has denounced as “outrageous and grave” plans by an American Christian minister to burn copies of the Quran to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary.

The Vatican office responsible for relations with Islam, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, issued a stern statement on Wednesday saying that every religion has the right to respect and protect its sacred books, places of worship and symbols.

While deploring the terror attacks, the Pontifical Council said they “cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community.”

Pastor Terry Jones of the small, evangelical Dove World Outreach Center has said he would go ahead with plans to burn copies of Islam’s holy book this weekend despite opposition.

The Vatican said the proper reflection to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks is to offer solidarity with those affected by the attacks and pray for them.

“Each religious leader and believer is also called to renew the firm condemnation of all forms of violence, in particular those committed in the name of religion,” the statement said.

The communique was issued a day after the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported that Christians around the world were protesting the plans by Jones. “No one burns the Quran,” the paper’s headline read.

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