General Assembly President Ali Treki has added his voice to United Nations concern about the threat by a Christian clergyman in the United States to burn copies of the Koran.
Dr. Treki “condemns such calls, which can only provoke hatred and discrimination between religions and faiths and reinforces the clash between the civilizations and religions of the world,” according to a note released by his spokesperson.
The Dove World Outreach Center, a small church located in Florida, has reportedly said it will go ahead with its intention to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, despite widespread international condemnation.
Dr. Treki said the threatened burning was “an expression of obsolete and reactionary thinking, which in turn threatens to bring humanity back to the age of the Inquisition,” adding he was concerned that it will “lead to uncontrollable reactions.”
The Assembly President stressed that religious coexistence and tolerance is one of the most important aspects of modern societies.
His comments follow similar remarks from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Staffan de Mistura, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), who warned yesterday that the burning threat could endanger the lives of those working to further peace and development in that country.
Speaking to journalists today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban reiterated his concerns about the planned burning.
“Such actions cannot be condoned by any religion,” he said. “They contradict the efforts of the United Nations and many people around the world to promote tolerance, intercultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions.”