AMMAN (The Jordan Times) - A group of young Muslims on Monday offered flowers to Christian clergymen in Amman as a gesture of “peace and coexistence” against the backdrop of a Florida pastor’s recent threat to burn copies of the Koran.
“Shall we burn a copy of the Bible as a response to that? No, this is not what should be done,” Zeid Oweidi told reporters at the Greek Orthodox Church in Abdali yesterday.
Following Al Asr (afternoon) prayers at the King Abdullah I Mosque, Oweidi and a group of 10 people walked to the nearby church, where they greeted the clergymen and other congregation members with bouquets of flowers.
The gesture sought to reaffirm the state of interfaith coexistence in Jordan, he said, adding that Pastor Terry Jones’ plans to burn 20 copies of Islam’s holy book will not affect the “strong” relations between followers of the two religions in the Kingdom, where Christians constitute around 5 per cent of the population.
Oweidi said some Muslim clerics opposed his initiative, but he insisted on going through with it, because “we believe in the positive effect and the peaceful message behind what we are doing”.
Several churches in the country have issued statements over the past week condemning plans by Jones, head of the Florida-based Dove World Outreach Centre, to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US.
Last week, the extremist preacher announced the plan was suspended following conflicting reports about him reaching a deal with New York’s Muslim community not to construct an Islamic centre near Ground Zero.
Jones’ plan was met with protests across the Muslim world, with thousands of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries staging demonstrations.
Many in the US also protested against the plan, while President Barack Obama and other officials warned it would place American soldiers and diplomats abroad at risk.
The Vatican has also described the plan as an “outrageous and grave gesture”.
In the Amman ceremony yesterday, Economos Constantine Karmash slammed Jones’ “out of tune” behaviour.
“A [Christian] clergyman should believe God’s stricture to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’,” he said