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Statement from Archbishop Thomas Wenski

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As Metropolitan Archbishop of Miami, I join with religious leaders in this State of Florida, the United States and throughout the world in deploring the threatened plan of the pastor of a small non-denominational church to burn copies of the Quran. As Bishop Galeone of St. Augustine, Florida, said, such an action “represents a counter-witness to the Gospel message by engendering fear and hatred…”

The Catholic Bishops of the world during the Second Vatican Council taught: “The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the Day of Judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.” (NA #3)

In the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Muslims. Admittedly, relations between Christians and Muslims have always been fragile. We hope that this isolated and reprehensible threat to desecrate the Quran held sacred by Muslims throughout the world will not derail any possible future engagement between Muslims and Christians. If such a desecration does take place despite efforts of religious leaders and others to dissuade the proponent of this shameful deed, we pray that cooler heads will prevail and the reprehensible action of an unrepresentative few will not result in equally reprehensible retaliatory acts of violence.

There can be – and is – much common ground among the three great religions of the Book, as Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes described. Adherents of each of these religions claim Abraham as their father in faith. But that common ground can only be found through an attitude of mutual respect and honest dialog. Christians, Jews and Muslims throughout the world must agree that religion cannot be the foundation of a conflict, a war, or any other kind of violence.

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