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Local Muslims react to possible Quran burning

The Quran is a sacred book to Muslim-Americans like Jihad Shawwa. He said just the thought of anyone threatening to burn the holiest book in the Muslim faith is painful.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Florida pastor Terry Jones' threats to burn Qurans to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have caused an uproar in the Muslim community.

The Quran is a sacred book to Muslim-Americans like Jihad Shawwa. He said just the thought of anyone threatening to burn the holiest book in the Muslim faith is painful.

“It makes me sad. You always ask, ‘Why?’” Shawwa said.

Shawwa, who is with the Muslim-American Public Affairs Council, said the irony of planning such an act on Sept. 11 isn't lost on him.

“Yes, there’s hatred and damage was done, but I hope he would learn. My philosophy would be instead of burn, learn not burn,” Shawwa said.

Shawwa is calling on Muslim community in the Triangle to lead by example and react to the threat against the Quran with understanding and forgiveness.

“We should learn from such an action how to love and respect and build bridges amongst each other,” he said. “That’s the only way we can get our greatness and leadership in the world.”

Shawwa said he is also praying for Jones.

“I hope that God will give him more concepts in his way – helping him to understand how to build love, not hatred,” he said.

Jones backed off of the idea on Thursday, but later threatened to reconsider burning the Quran, angrily accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him with a promise to move an Islamic center and mosque away from New York’s ground zero. The man planning the center denied there was ever such a deal.

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Ken Smith, Reporter
Mark Simpson, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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