Los Angeles News

Local leaders condemn Koran-burning plan

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thousands of local Muslims marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan Friday, the same day word came from Florida that a pastor's threat to burn copies of the Koran has been called off.

Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a group of African American church leaders came together Friday to condemn the announcement by the Reverend Terry Jones that he would burn the Koran. Jones planned to do it on the ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001.

"We simply abhor the character and the precedent of Terry Jones and his bigoted statement on burning the Koran," said Bishop Theodore Kirkland at a news conference at the First AME Church of Los Angeles Friday.

At the Los Angeles Convention Center, hundreds of Muslims prayed Friday morning, marking the end of Ramadan. The threats to burn their most sacred writings has sparked widespread anger.

"He's just like any racist person, hateful at best," said L.A. resident Sabira Alloo.

"The modern Muslim is the best weapon against extremism. Instead of attacking them, we should embrace them," said L.A. resident Muhammad Alloo.

Jones's reasons for the Koran-burning have ranged from an outright condemnation of Muslim beliefs to the building of an Islamic center in New York near Ground Zero. The imam building that center says he will not meet with the pastor.

The Koran-burning was a topic at President Obama's news conference Friday morning.

Obama condemned the plan and warned that Muslim reaction around the world could threaten the safety of American troops.

The threat has already sparked protests in Pakistan and Afghanistan and with threats to physically retaliate against non-Muslims.

"The idea that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else's religion is contrary to what this country stands for," said Obama.

Representative Waters thinks there could be some good to come out of this.

"I think that Terry Jones, in this vile action that he is threatening to take, is also presenting us with an opportunity, an opportunity to come forward and stand up in perhaps ways that the overall religious community has not done," said Waters.

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