TEHRAN - Iran slammed on Monday, April 28, the insulting' move by anti-Qur'an Pastor Terry Jones to burn copies of the Muslim holy book, demanding an action from the US authorities to condemn rising Islamophobia which provoke Muslim anger worldwide, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns this ridiculous, insulting and provoking act by a so-called US priest in overt contempt of the holy Qur'an," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.
Inciting Muslim anger, controversial pastor Jones burned last Saturday copies of the holy Qur'an and an image depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in front of his church.
The burning followed an earlier threat from the pastor to burn the Muslim holy book if Iran did not release imprisoned pastor from a death sentence after converting from Islam to Christianity.
The controversial burning, witnessed by about 20 people, started at 5 pm last Saturday in front of Jones' church in Florida.
The act was broadcast online in a YouTube video that climaxed with Jones and a handful of followers repeating the US oath of allegiance as the Qur'an burned.
After the speeches, officers in two Gainesville Police Department cars drove onto the property accusing Jones of burning books without authorization and issuing a fine of $271.
Fire Chief Gene Prince, contacted by The Sun afterward, said books cannot be burned without authorization because of environmental concerns over the burning of glue and bindings in books.
Saturday's act of protest took place in spite of published reports that the Pentagon had urged Jones to reconsider, expressing concern that American soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere could be put at greater risk because of the act.
A little more than a year ago, Jones, a 58-year-old pastor and the head of a small fringe church in Gainesville, Florida, burnt the Qur'an in front of a crowd of about 50 people on March 20 in what he called "International Judge the Qur'an Day".
Video posted on the website of his church showed a kerosene-soaked book going up in bright flames, sending thousands of angry Afghans into the streets in deadly protests that left scores of people dead.
The act also prompted attacks on a UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan in which seven UN employees died, and there were other fatal protests around the region.
Iran's foreign ministry said they are awaiting a US response against the burning of the holy Qur'an, saying the hateful action reflects a rising Islamophobia in the West.
The Foreign Ministry said the world was awaiting a quick, serious and frank response by the US government to this act so it is never repeated.
The ministry added the Qur'an burning undoubtedly creates religious hatred and will provoke Muslim anger worldwide.
According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey has also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.
Jones action also comes in a year that has already been disastrous for relations between Afghans and US forces.
Earlier this April 2012, the Los Angeles Times published of pictures showing US troops with dismembered bodies in Afghanistan in 2010.
In January, American soldiers were shown urinating at the dead bodies of Taliban fighters, sparking a storm of anger and condemnations from across the Muslim world.
US troops were also engulfed in another crisis after the burning of copies of the Noble Qur'an at a US military base near Kabul in February.
At least 30 people were killed in violent protests against the burning of the Muslim holy book.