Obama Condemns Qur’an Burning ‘Bigotry’

Washington, DC: President Barack Obama on Saturday condemned a US pastor’s burning of the Qur’an, after violent protests at what he called an act of “extreme intolerance and bigotry” left 17 dead in Afghanistan.

Obama also reiterated his condemnation of the “outrageous” attacks by protesters as “an affront to human decency and dignity.” “No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act,” he added.

“The desecration of any holy text, including the Qur’an, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry,” Obama said in a statement honoring those killed in the attacks.

DESECRATION IS ‘UN-AMERICAN’: The White House on Monday slammed the desecration of the holy Qur’an as “un-American”, but said a US pastor’s burning of the Muslim holy book did not justify the killings of UN personnel in Afghanistan. “We absolutely condemn the burning of a holy text. We think it is un-American and inappropriate,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. But after violence erupted in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday and claimed the lives of at least 22 people, including seven foreign UN staff, Carney said “absolutely nothing” justified such attacks.

Friday’s attackers in Mazar-i-Sharif had broken away from a large demonstration in the city against the burning of the Qur’an at an evangelical church in Florida. They overwhelmed guards at the UN compound before setting it ablaze.

The United Nations did not announce the nationalities of the civilian staff killed. But Sweden named one as 33-year-old Swede, Joakim Dungel. Norway said Lieutenant Colonel Siri Skare, a 53-year-old female pilot, was killed.

Diplomats said the third was a Romanian.

“Now is a time to draw upon the common humanity that we share, and that was so exemplified by the UN workers who lost their lives trying to help the people of Afghanistan,” Obama said in extending his “deepest condolences” to friends and relatives of the victims.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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