Florida pastor Terry Jones is at it again. The infamous Koran-burning faith leader set a copy of the holy book ablaze over the weekend in protest of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's ongoing detainment in Iran. Two months ago, Jones threatened to take these actions as a result of the Christian's continued captivity. Following the event, Iranian officials promptly issued a fierce response to the book-burning.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning Jones' actions and claiming that the West has been engaged in an ongoing campaign to spread Islamophobia across the globe.
"Without doubt, these lowly measures by the US pastor will result in religious hatred and in the wrath and resentment of the Muslims all over the world," the statement read (another translation reads, "There is no doubt that this cheap American priest will cause religious hatred, anger and resentment throughout the Muslim world").
According to PressTV, the statement also slammed the U.S. government for failing to appropriately handle the individuals who burned Korans at a U.S.-run air base in Afghanistan earlier this year. The silence coming from America, Iran believes, has emboldened people like Jones to act out in inappropriate ways.
"Such indecent actions by the U.S. pastor definitely incite religious hatred and provoke the wrath of the world’s Muslims, and this makes the responsibility of the U.S. government heavier given its inaction to prevent the recurrence of such extremist actions," The Tehran Times quotes the statement as saying.
Iran also called upon the U.S. to apologize to the Muslim world for the pastor's actions, calling Jones' antics "absurd, insulting and provoking." While it's unlikely that officials will issue an official apology for the actions of an individual citizen, Jones will face local penalties. As a result of his unlawful burning, he was fined $300 after fire officials claimed he didn't have the proper authorization to burn books.
Other Iranian politicians have spoken out against the pastor as well, with The Tehran Times writing:
MP Yunaten Bet Kelia, who represents the Assyrian and Chaldean communities in the Iranian parliament, said on Monday that the desecration of the Quran by the U.S. pastor was politically motivated.Speaking to the Persian service of IRNA, Bet Kelia stated that minorities of Jews and Christians are living together peacefully in Iran, adding, “The people (behind the move), who are puppets of the (global) arrogance (forces of imperialism), should be aware that they cannot sow discord among (followers of different) religions through such actions.”
"The image of Mohammed and the Koran will be burned as a form of demonstration and protest against the brutality, murder, rape and destruction of Islam that has taken place over a 1,400 year history and has not stopped," the pastor said at the event. "Today is not a day of celebration by no means, it is actually a very sad day. It is sad that something like this needs to take place. It is sad that this type of step must be done."
Here's footage of the burning: