Planned burning of Quran ignites debate
|Bagpiper Danne Farrell of Celtic Spirit salutes as the color guard passes during a remembrance ceremony at the Amherst Memorial Hill Grove.(9/11)|
Despicable. That's the word people used in the Buffalo faith community to describe how they feel about the Florida pastor's method to spread his message. News 4 caught up with them at the annual Ceremony of Remembrance in Amherst.
How could we ever forget? It's been nine years, but the images of 9/11 are still easy to recall. Once again, local religious leaders from all faiths gathered at Amherst Memorial Hill Grove to remember and offer comfort to those who lost a loved one on that fateful day. But religious leaders also shared their thoughts, when asked, about a Florida pastor's plan to mark Saturday's anniversary by burning the Quran, Islam's Holy Book.
Father Francis Mazur, Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Buffalo, said, "This is totally contrary to the message of Jesus. He wasn't a person of hate or anger. He was a positive person and for a Christian church to do that, it's despicable."
The Rev. Terry Jones plans to burn hundreds of the books, despite a warning by the US Commander in Afghanistan that such an image could endanger the lives of American troops. While members of the local Sikh Association condemned the campaign, Niagara Sikh Association Trustee Surgit Singh said, "It doesn't accomplish anything."
Imam Nazim Mangera of the Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier says he won't hold it against all Christians.
"I think that one person who holds that viewpoint, it's an isolated incident and we don't judge a whole country because of the actions of a few," said Imam Mangera.
Above all, Muslim leaders say burning their holy book is pure desecration, and Jewish and Christian leaders agreed. Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein of Temple Sinai likened the burnings to the Holocaust.
"Well, there've been burnings of Jewish books for thousands of years and it's an awful feeling to think it would happen in 2010," said Rabbi Lazarus-Klein.
These leaders hope the Florida pastor changes his mind, adding, his method will only refuel the tension on a day of remembrance in America. As of Wednesday night, the pastor has no intentions of canceling, despite death threats and warnings. He claims he now wears a pistol strapped to his hip for protection.
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