The National Council of Churches USA has reiterated its condemnation of plans by a Florida church to burn the Qur’an on the 11 September anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
On the eve of Ramadan, the NCCUSA and its Interfaith Relations Commission called upon Christians and persons of other faiths to express respect for Muslims and Islam.
The original August 11 statement, which expressed dismay over recent outbreaks of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments, said, in part: “We also decry the anti-Muslim actions and plans of many church leaders and members, such as those of the Dove World Outreach Center in the USA. Misguided or confused about the love of neighbour by which Christ calls us to live, leaders and members of this church and others are engaged in harassment of Muslims, and in the planning of an ‘International Burn the Qur’an Day,’ to be held on September 11th. Such open acts of hatred are not a witness to Christian faith, but a grave trespass against the ninth commandment, a bearing of false witness against our neighbour. They contradict the ministry of Christ and the witness of the church in the world.”
It continued: “We ask all Christians to promote respect and love of neighbour, and to speak and work against extremist ideas, working with Muslims as appropriate, in order to live out the commandment to love our neighbour, and to promote peace.”
The Rev Dr Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, said the council had chosen to repeat its statement in response to “many requests from persons of good will who wish to make it abundantly clear to the international community that millions of Americans reject the anti-Muslim expressions of some communities who seem to be reacting out of fear and a misunderstanding of the true nature of Islam.”