The DAP unreservedly condemn the proposed action by a US pastor, Terry Jones in Gainesville, Florida to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre, New York.
The intentionally provocative action by his church will serve to further agitate and worsen religious tensions around the world at a time when the people of the world of all religions should be grieving together in reconciliation in memory of the tragic event that fateful day.
The attacks on the World Trade Centre were the works of extremists and terrorists, and is in no way representative of Islam, the religion. Similarly, by taking such extremist action of burning the Muslim's holy book, Pastor Terry Jones cannot be taken as in anyway representative of the Christian and other non-Muslim community at large.
All acts of violence and extremism which seeks to destroy peace must be opposed without fail, regardless of any religious justification which may be used as an excuse.
We are comforted that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denounced the plans as “disgraceful” and Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe has called the church's behaviour “offensive” and that “The Dove World Outreach Center is a tiny, fringe group and an embarrassment to our community”.
We also note the fact that the US National Association of Evangelicals had warned that the plan is offensive to both Muslims and Christians, while the Vatican has condemned the act as an “outrageous and grave gesture” and that “all religions have the right to respect and protection regarding their sacred books, places of worship and symbols.”
However, the plans by the church marks the urgent need for stronger relationships between leaders of the various faiths in the world as well as more interfaith discussions to promote greater inter-religious understanding.
We call upon the US government to take stronger and more active steps to inform Americans that the deplorable and hideous acts of September 11 is carried out by terrorists who abused a peaceful religion as a means to achieve their own ends. Similarly, there are other fanatics who have used Christianity and Catholicism in ancient and modern times as an excuse to carry out acts of violence around the world.
Hence we call for good sense to prevail where condemnation must be on the fanatics who carry out terrorism, and not the religion which has been unjustly targeted and abused. There can be no better time for peace to be upheld as Muslims around the world celebrate Aidilfitri, and non-Muslims to share their joy and celebrations.