The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue received with great concern the news of the proposed "Koran Burning Day" on the occasion of the Anniversary of the September 11
th tragic terrorist attacks in 2001 which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and considerable material damage.
These deplorable acts of violence, in fact, cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community. Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection. We are speaking about the respect to be accorded the dignity of the person who is an adherent of that religion and his/her free choice in religious matters.
The reflection which necessarily should be fostered on the occasion of the remembrance of September 11th would be, first of all, to offer our deep sentiments of solidarity with those who were struck by these horrendous terrorist attacks. To this feeling of solidarity we join our prayers for them and their loved ones who lost their lives.
Each religious leader and believer is also called to renew the firm condemnation of all forms of violence, in particular those committed in the name of religion. Pope John Paul II affirmed: "Recourse to violence in the name of religious belief is a perversion of the very teachings of the major religions" (Address to the new Ambassador of Pakistan, 16 December 1999). His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, similarly expressed, "…violence as a response to offences can never be justified, for this type of response is incompatible with the sacred principles of religion..." (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, to the new Ambassador of Morocco, 6 February 2006).
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