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Vatican: Burning Quran Is Outrageous, Grave Move

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VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Wednesday denounced as "outrageous and grave" plans by a Christian minister in Florida to burn copies of the Quran to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary.

The Vatican office responsible for relations with Islam issued a stern statement saying every religion has the right to expect that its sacred books, places of worship and symbols will be respected and protected.

While deploring those 2001 terror attacks, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said such violence "cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community."

Pastor Terry Jones of the small, evangelical Dove World Outreach Center which espouses anti-Islam sentiments has said he would go ahead with plans to burn copies of Islam's holy book this weekend despite opposition from the White House, the U.S. military and others.

The Vatican said the proper reflection to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks is to offer solidarity with those affected by the attacks and pray for them.

"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," the statement said.

The communique was issued a day after the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported that Christians around the world were protesting the plans by Jones. "No one burns the Quran," the paper's headline read.

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