Thursday, September 9, 2010


NEW YORK (AP) - Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who is on a visit to flood-hit areas in Pakistan as UN Goodwill Ambassador, has condemned plans of a Florida church to burn the Quran. “Of course not. Of course not. I have hardly the words that somebody would do that to somebody's religious book,” Jolie said when asked if she supported the act. Christian pastor Terry Jones has caused a furor in Islamic countries by announcing plans to set fire to the Quran at his church in Florida, to mark the anniversary of the Sep 11, 2001 terror attack in New York. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several other officials in the country have also condemned the plan. The 35-year-old actress spoke out against the proposed burning during a trip to Pakistan to raise awareness about the floods that have devastated the largely Muslim country over the last six weeks. She visited in her capacity as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N.'s refugee agency. Jolie's criticism echoed that of top U.S. officials, who have described the church's plan as a disgraceful act and have even warned that it could endanger U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Americans worldwide. President Barack Obama also urged the pastor of a Florida church not to burn copies of the Koran.

The Christian minister organizing the Quran burning, Pastor Terry Jones, has said he plans to go ahead in spite of concerns. He is part of the Dove World Outreach Center, a tiny, evangelical Christian church in Gainesville, Florida, with an anti-Islam philosophy. The issue has not gotten much attention in Pakistan, where officials and residents have been trying to cope with the devastation caused by floods that first hit the country at the end of July following extremely heavy monsoon rains. “I was shocked especially by how high the floodwaters went,” said Jolie, who wore a long dress and covered her hair with a black scarf in keeping with local Muslim custom.

Senior government officials, religious leaders, people from the world of culture, Hollywood stars and even ordinary citizens asked the pastor Terry Jones to abandon its project to burn 200 copies of the Al Qur’an. However, always with his 40 caliber pistol in his belt, pastor Jones believes, to cancel the event would not be a show of tolerance, but a sign of weakness. One should respet the faith of others in their gurus and holy scriptures.

There are many different religions throughout the world. Each one of these religions has a historical founder, whom we normally call its guru. For example, the founder and guru of the Christian religion is Jesus Christ; the founder and guru of the Islamic religion is Hajrat Mohammed; the founder of the Jewish religion is Moses; the Sikh guru is Nanak, and the guru of the Buddhists is Buddha. ... The spiritual masters of each religion were, each in their own way, seers of the Divine Truth. Their realizations were expressed in words and these words became the scriptures of the spiritual paths they founded. The words of Christ and Moses are the basis of the Bible. The Koran was revealed by Mohammed. ... Those who love religion have faith in the words of their gurus and the scriptures that they composed. This is the essence of faith, which is the seed of understanding the Supreme Lord.

Śrīla Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Mahārāja :
"Sanatan Hindu Dharma : The Way to Harmony"

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