US Bible society will give away two copies of Qur'an for every one burnt

US Bible society will give away two copies of Qur'an for every one burnt

By staff writers
10 Sep 2010

The Massachusetts Bible Society in the USA has said it plans to take a stand against hate and give away two copies of the Qur'an for every one Christian extremists burn.

In the face of international pressure from faith groups and government, the Rev Terry Jones and his small congregation in Gainesville, Florida, are currently equivocating on whether they will go ahead with their threatened burning of copies of the holy book, believed by Muslims to have been dictated by Allah, on 11 September 2010 - the ninth anniversary of the Twin Towers attacks in New York.

The pastor says he is waiting to hear from the imam heading up plans for an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero before deciding whether and when to go ahead.

Lawyers say that the act could not be prevented, and civil rights groups say that no matter how repugnant it is, the Dove International Center's actions should be opposed politically rather than by the suppression of free speech.

But several people have already died as a result of protests across Afghanistan and in the capital Kabul, with further demonstrations taking place in Pakistan, in Indonesia (the world's most populous Muslim-majority country) and elsewhere.

MassBible (the Massachusetts Bible Society) has joined with thousands of Christian and other religious leaders across the country to renounce his act.

In a statement it said: "As people of the Book, we are joined to Islam and Judaism in a special way and as an organisation that has sought to put that Book into people's hands for 201 years, we cannot stand idly by while the sacred text of a sister religion is burned as our beloved Bibles once were.

"Lest Muslim culture believe that the Rev Jones' position represents that of all Christians, MassBible is prepared to take a counter action. For two centuries we have given the Bible to those without access. In response to the Rev Jones' despicable act, we are prepared to give away two Qur'ans for every one that Rev Jones burns.

"The Qur'ans will go to prisons, hospitals, shelters, or to any place where there are Muslims without access to their sacred text.

"This in no way diminishes our belief in the Bible as the Word of God. On the contrary, it is acting on the command within its pages to love our neighbours as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18) and to do unto others as we would have done unto us (Matthew 7:12)."

MassBible is "a Christian organisation that exists to promote biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue that is grounded in scholarship, socially relevant, and respectful of the many voices within the Bible and all those who turn to the Bible in faith."

More about the counter-initiative here: http://www.massbible.org/burn-one-give-two.

[Ekk/3]

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