Widespread anger over desecration threat marking ninth anniversary of 9/11 and its timing – a day after end of Ramadan
The Muslim and Arab world has responded angrily to the threats to burn the Qur’an, with the story featuring prominently on television news channels and in the press. Lebanon’s Christian president, Michel Suleiman, issued a statement saying the threat was “in clear contradiction to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions and of dialogue among the three faiths”.
Abd al-Razzaq Mu’nis, a former Syrian deputy minster of religious affairs, told Alalam TV, an Iranian Arabic-language channel, that this was typical of western arrogance: “We are used to seeing the arrogant administrations in the US and Europe take turns in offending Islam and the figure of the Prophet Muhammad, using different styles to stir repulsive sectarian fanaticism.”
In Abu Dhabi, the Khaleej Times condemned a “rabid and insane act by an extremist pastor”, while Lebanon’s Daily Star warned of “a fire of rage that could consume swaths of the globe.”
Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, warned western countries not to “desecrate” Islamic objects of worship to avoid creating “sensitive situations between public opinion and Muslims”.
On Sunday thousands of Indonesians gathered outside the US embassy in Jakarta calling for “jihad to protect Qur’an”.
The timing of the controversy coincides with the end of Ramadan. Muslim and Arab countries will announce tonight whether the feast of Eid al-Fitr will start tomorrow or Friday, depending on the sighting of the new moon. Eid al-Fitr is one of the two biggest Muslim holidays of the year.
“There is a feeling of unease as Eid al-Fitr is approaching, close to the anniversary of 9/11,” a correspondent for the Saudi Arab News reported from Ohio.
Commenting on the website of Al-Manar TV– run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah – an Algerian named Lily commented: “Allah will protect his book before it is harmed. This Ramadan Muslims are praying to Allah to [deal with] the hateful crusaders.” An unnamed Moroccan wrote: “Provocations of this kind will only increase the power of Islam.”