After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Dejection in Vancouver over pastor's wish to burn Qur'an in Florida

“This act is just outrageous. It's direct provocation of all Muslims in the United States and across the globe," Sikandar Khan, President of BC Muslim Association, said. "The Qur’an is our most holy book. This is demeaning the whole religion."

The Muslim community in British Colombia   added their voices to the global outcry against a Florida pastor's (now retracted) plan to burn copies of the Qur'an. Terry Jones, pastor at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, plans to burn 200 copies of the Muslim holy book on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Khan said Jones should "come to his senses." "He’s done enough talking. He’s had enough publicity."

The Muslim community in British Colombia is "feeling dejected" about the situation, said Khan. "We were just trying to finish up the month of Ramadan [the holiest month in the Islamic calendar] peacefully. Everything was going well, except the situation in Pakistan. This is not a welcome news at all. Everybody feels horrible about the actions of this guy."

A Qur'an in the Islamic Gallery at the British Museum displays the elegance of Arabic script.

President Obama, Prime Minister Harper and many leaders around the world had urged Jones to call off his plan.

“I just want him to understand this stunt he’s talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform,” Obama said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He called the pastor's plan a "recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper cited Christ and God as he condemned the pastor.

“I don't speak very often about my own religion but let me be very clear: My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that's what we want to see in this world,'' Harper said in a statement Wednesday.

“I unequivocally condemn it... We all enjoy freedom of religion and that freedom of religion comes from a tolerant spirit. I don't think that's the way you treat other faiths, as different as those faiths may be from your own.''

In an interview Thursday with a Toronto radio station Jones said he was well aware of the negative reaction from around the world.

“We are of course taking all of those things into consideration, that is probably putting it lightly,” he told radio station AM640.

“We are very much in prayer about it. There is the possibility, of course, that we will not do it.”

Military officials in both Canada and the U.S. stated that, if carried out, the church's actions would have compromised the safety of American and NATO troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan told CNN, "If in Florida they were to burn the Quran, we will target any Christians, even if they are innocent, because the Quran is our holy book and we do not want someone to burn our holy book."

The Muslim Canadian Congress joined voices from around the world that implored (and finally convinced) Jones to consider the consequences of his plan.

“We understand the pain of America as it mourns its dead, but the jihadis who have declared war on America are not inspired by Islam or the Qur'an,” congress president Sohail Raza said in a release on Thursday.

VO readers have reacted with condemnation to the pastor's plan.

"I think it is wrong to deface anyone's Holy Book. I am continually amazed that one man would be willing to hurt millions of people. As a Christian, I am ashamed of Reverend Jones. He is not upholding the second greatest commandment which is to love your neighbour as you love yourself. I am praying for him," Rochele Potter wrote.

For more reaction and to leave your comment, visit VO's Facebook page.

More in DiverCity

UBC symposium on anti-Asian racism finds Maclean's "Too Asian?" too insensitive

Two weeks ago, I wrote a commentary in response to Maclean’s “Too Asian?” Since then, many voices have chimed in from left, right, and centre to offer their two cents. Aside from a brief non-apology...

Four hip hijabis talk about their relationship to the headscarf and fashion

Wearing a headscarf doesn't make you a fashion bore, these young Vancouver women say.

"Too Asian?" too racist for a magazine like Maclean's?

Whatever intention Maclean's had in publishing "Too Asian?" by Stephanie Findlay and Nicholas Kohler, the story in the November 10 issue jeopardizes the magazine's reputation of producing "strong...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.