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Clergy oppose planned Koran burning

  |   Sept. 5, 2010 at 2:53 PM
HOUSTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Religious leaders from more than a half-dozen faiths held an interfaith symposium in Houston to condemn a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Koran.

About 120 people attended the symposium at the Baitus Samee Mosque, and heard speakers from Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim clergy discuss the sanctity of religious books, The Houston Chronicle reported.

It was in response to an announcement by the Dove World Outreach Center's plan to burn copies of the Muslim holy book to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. The Florida-based organization said it would hold an event called "Burn a Koran Day" on the evening of Sept. 11.

"Even if it is a human document merely inspired by encounters of the divine, or generations of my people's wisdom passed down and kept sacred, it is still sacred," Rabbi Jonathan Siger told the Houston audience.

The non-denominational church in Gainesville is known for posting "Islam is of the Devil" signs on its lawn in 2009.

"Islam is a very oppressive religion, and the Koran is definitely a dangerous book," said Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center. "We want to send a clear message to radical Muslims … we have a Constitution, and we hope to uphold it."

The church was denied a burning permit by Gainesville authorities, but said members still plan to burn "a couple hundred Korans," to commemorate Sept. 11, the newspaper said.

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