Pakistan takes up Florida Quran desecration with UN

United Nations, Mar 23(ANI): Pakistan has taken up the "despicable act" of desecration of the Holy Quran in Florida with the United Nations, and urged it to take urgent steps to promote inter-faith harmony in the wake of increasing acts of Islamophobia. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Pakistan's Permanent Representative Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon voiced his country's strong condemnation of the burning of the Islamic holy book, and expressed "profound regret and deep concern" at the growing trend of Islamophobia, intolerance and hatred towards Muslims as well as insults to their religious symbols and personalities. Controversial American pastor Terry Jones, who last year cancelled a plan to burn copies of the Koran to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States after international condemnation, oversaw the burning of a copy of the Quran at his small Florida church on Sunday after the Islamic revered book was put on trial. "While this reprehensible act is the work of extremists and is evidently designed to provoke dissent and discord among communities and peoples across the world, such sacrilegious acts also go against the very concept of inter-faith harmony and threaten the multicultural fabric of the societies and the brotherhood of the United Nations," The Nation quoted Haroon's letter, as saying. Pakistan believes that civilised people and societies must resist and oppose any tendency towards extremism of any kind, said Haroon, adding that Pakistan expects that the US administration and American people as well as all civilised societies will take due cognisance and express their revulsion against this sacrilegious act. The Ambassador also urged the UN to play its important role in ensuring peace and harmony among people across the world, adding that Pakistan has full confidence in the UN leadership and hopes that it will take all steps to fight such tendencies and promote intercultural and inter-faith harmony. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Islamabad has condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran in Florida, and said that it is an isolated act done by a small group of people that is contrary to American traditions. "It does not reflect the general sentiment of respect toward Islam by the people of the United States," the embassy said in a press release. "The deliberate destruction of a holy book is an abhorrent act," said Ambassador Cameron Munter, adding, "The US commitment to freedom of religion and freedom of expression goes back to the founding of our nation and is enshrined in the Constitution. We absolutely reject religious intolerance in any form." (ANI)

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