Malaysia calls on US to stop Koran burning ceremony
Thu, Sep 09, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia on Thursday condemned a Florida church's planned Koran-burning ceremony as a "heinous" act that represented an attack on Muslims, and called on the US to stop it from going ahead.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said the Dove World Outreach Center's intention to torch the religion's holy book this Saturday was unacceptable and that Malaysia planned to "express our feelings" to the United States.

"That is the most heinous crime and action, it's unthinkable," he told a news conference.

"There is no doubt whatsoever that it is an attack on Muslims, it will not only anger the Muslims in Malaysia and throughout the world. The Christians also don't condone this kind of action," he added.

"I believe America will take appropriate action so this thing will not happen."

However, US authorities have said there is little they can do to stop the event from going ahead, as it is protected by the US Constitution's First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Other political parties in multi-ethnic Malaysia, where majority Muslims living alongside ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, also spoke out against the Koran burning.

Gerakan, an ethnic Chinese party in the ruling coalition, said the plans were "outright deplorable and repulsive" and risked provoking retaliation that would harm religious tolerance and understanding.

The Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party, a member of the opposition alliance, also said the Florida church's actions "will only breed more hate and violence among people of different faiths".

The conservative Islamic party PAS, also a member of the opposition alliance, has said it will urge Muslims to protest outside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur if the Koran-burning ceremony goes ahead.

US military commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus has said that the church's actions could have global repercussions and endanger US military personnel serving abroad.

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