Skip to main content

Indonesians protest U.S. church's plan to burn Quran

From Andy Saputra, CNN
  • Thousands peacefully protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta
  • A Florida church plans to burn copies of the Muslim holy text
  • The church says the burning will mark the September 11 attacks
  • Muslims see provocation, despite the church's claims of love
  • Indonesia
  • Jakarta

Jakarta, Indonesia -- Thousands of Indonesians gathered Sunday outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta to protest a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran.

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Florida, plans to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning copies of the Muslim holy text. The center describes itself as a "New Testament church based on the Bible." It made headlines last year when it distributed a T-shirt that said, "Islam is the devil."

Protesters in Jakarta carried signs saying, "Jihad to protect Koran" and "You burn qu'ran you burn in hell." The protesters included members of the hard-line Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia and the pluralism care movement, a multi-faith group.

"We hope that the U.S. government to stop this plan. We represent Muslim, Christians and other religions who all wants to avoid any clashes as a result," Damien Dematra, the coordinator for the pluralism care movement, said in a news statement.

Police were on the scene at the peaceful protest, which included children.

The Florida church said on its blog: "On 9/11/10 we are burning Korans to raise awareness and warn. In a sense it is neither an act of love nor of hate. We see, as we state in the Ten Reasons below, that Islam is a danger. We are using this act to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful. We do not hate any people, however. We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth. To warn of danger and harm is a loving act."

Muslims see provocation in the plan.

"The burning is not only an insult to the holy Koran, but an insult to Islam and Muslims around the world," said Muhammad Ismail, the spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir.