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Archbishop calls for arrest of Koran-burning pastor

By on Monday, 4 April 2011

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore at his residence in Lahore (CNS photo/Mian Khursheed, Reuters)

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore at his residence in Lahore (CNS photo/Mian Khursheed, Reuters)

The leader of the Catholic Church in Pakistan has called for the arrest of the US pastor whose decision to burn the Koran triggered protests that have killed at least 24 people in Afghanistan.

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore condemned the desecration of the Koran carried out by Pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Pastor Terry Jones.

Since the Koran burning took place at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Florida on March 20, protests have been held in many parts of the Muslim world.

In Afghanistan, an attack on a UN base on Friday in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif killed 14 people, seven of them US staff. The next day at least 10 people were killed in the southern city of Kandahar.

Meanwhile, protests have taken place across Pakistan and the Koran-burning has been linked to attacks on three churches across the country, which is home to 2.5 million Christians.

Speaking from Lahore in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Saldanha said: “The US government should detain the pastor for some time.

“In view of the effects his actions have had all over the world, he should be controlled and understand the harm that has been done.”

Archbishop Saldanha, who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Lahore, went on: “The US government talks about religious freedom – but we call upon the US government to prevent such actions by extremists and other fundamentalist Christians.”

Archbishop Saldanha questioned reports from Pakistan linking unrest sparked by the Koran-burning to recent attacks on three churches but stressed the strength of feeling expressed by Muslims who have protested across the country.

Amid indications of growing Muslim anger on the issue, he said: “Although there have not been any reactions against Christians, it could become ugly.”

In a statement on Saturday, President Barak Obama gave his reaction to the Koran-burning and the deaths in Afghanistan.

He said: “The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.

“However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity.”

Meantime, in recent months churches in Pakistan have put in place extra security measures including armed guards, concrete blocks, security cameras, sand bags. Security checks are carried out on people entering churches for services.

  • ms catholic state

    So if they are going to outlaw desecration of the Koran…..then they must also outlaw the desecration of the Holy Bible. But you know they won’t. In fact…..our UK government already has laws against the desecration of the Koran ( a 14 year old girl was recently arrested for burning one)…..but not for the Holy Bible which is regularly desecrated at (probably publicly funded) art exhibitions for instance. As I said……our Government is pro-Islam…..

    Be sure…..the Islamic world is pulling the strings of the West.

  • Lee

    This Archbishop must rememeber who he represents and who he does not for as Jesus said ‘ You are either with me or against’ and that ‘one man cannot serve two masters’ !

  • Cowboy Papist

    While the act of “desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry,” it is protected free speech in America. It almost sounds as if the good bishop is making the burning of the Koran and the murder of innocent people a similar act of sin, doesn’t it? Reacting to a moronic act by a fundamentalist evangelical with murder is indeed “outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity,” but the two acts are not alike in any manner and efforts to make the acts relativistic are unjust to Christians.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think in any way Jesus the Lord will approve hurting the religious sentiments of other people.
    What He taught us is, “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you..” True Christians are those who obey Jesus Word and put into practice His teachings.

    If a Nation is Christian, it cannot approve or promote Koran burning.

  • ms catholic state

    But can it approve and even fund the desecration of the Holy Bible if it is a ‘Christian’ nation then?! How come nobody bothers about the desecration of the Holy Bible……

  • bewildered

    I want to be sure I understand this correctly: Burning the Koran is a crime. But is it a venial sin or a mortal sin?

  • Pookychicken

    The church has burned heretical bibles for centuries. The koran is as heretical as you get. Why is there uproar over this? Because a bunch of crybaby muslims want to whine. Dont look at Jones here, blame the muslims who continue to use this as a lame excuse to commit murder.

  • Esnofla

    I think the good Bishop is fearing for his life.

  • Rmkraus

    Bishop Saldanha should keep such opinions to himself


  • Kevin in El Paso

    His eminence needs to grow a pair of male genitals. Islamist psychopaths riot and rage everytime they have, or can manufacture, what they consider just cause. And they consider the very beath of Christians, Jews, and about everyone else to constitute said just cause. Go cower under your bed Archbishop; you are already dead.

  • Dcruz

    The Holy Bible is desecrated everday in muslim countries by word of mouth .They say has been changed, its not the original ,it has so many editions and so on. They even go to the extent of saying the bible is fake. In some parts of the muslim world the bible is burnt very often but no violence was carried out because of this act of fanatics.You will hardly get so called christian fanatics like Terry Jones and his collegue.Since 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya christians in many muslim countires are targeted for the acts of radically secular governments of the west whom muslim allign with christianity which is not true in that sense.

  • Dcruz

    The Archbishop had to come to the defence of muslims as they already are accussing the Pope and even the Catholic Church for Terry Jones ‘s act., although no one knows this crazy Pastor jones. There is a syaing if you can’t win them join them and the Archbishop did just that to protect his flock from any violence against christians and theChurch.

  • Dcruz

    The muslim claim the Koran is pure and it came dircectly from Allah and has never been altered or changed. I is worth reading to see and believe the truth of the miracle from Allah

  • ms catholic state

    For the safety and security of Christians the establishment of a Catholic State is imperative. Dialogue etc is fine…….but I wouldn’t bank on it.

  • Crcoa

    While I believe that the burning of the Koran was dangerous because of our situation in Moslem nations, I would ask the good Archbishop “arrest for what, burning a book”. The Moslems have burned and shred the Bible often, even in the Vatican when they illegally occupied St. Peter’s for awhile. Were Catholics angry, yes, did they murder and pillage, no. The Archbishop needs to read our Constitution.

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher, Founder and Chairman
    Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

  • Moses

    Did Peter and Paul cower in front of Ceaser, neither should we…Love and Mercy and let the power of Jesus due the work – was Jesus a pushover?

  • Michael Petek

    Just when you thought the Pakistani hierarchy were getting some spine, they turn dhimmi.

  • Jamie MacNab

    Pastor Jones is at liberty to make a martyr of himself. But is he at liberty to make a martyr of others?

  • Deesis

    I suggest the archbishop become a moslem. I seem to recall a episode from the life os St Francis of Assisi in which he challenged the Moslems to throw a Bible and koran into a fire so as to see which burned!
    The harm that has been done is by Moslems whose religion is from its beginnings violent and abusive. The reaction confirms this. The koran is a a false book of a deluded despot posing as a messnger of God. Why dnt Moslems burn bibles? It is because they have claimed these books as their own. Also they believe all children back to Adam and Eve are moslems already. Their parents either lead them into false beliefs or they stay what they were born …moslem.
    We respect others…however a false religion is a false religion. They can choose error but I must not as a Christian agree or give them the impression I think their religion true.

  • Deesis

    I think Jesus said “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT< NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME" Jesus did not give a hoot for false religious feelings nd sentiments. I hink he didnt give a hoot when he whipped the faces of the money changers in the temple forecourt. Mohamet is a murdering, polygamist who killed an raped in the name of Allah. What would Jesus say about that?

  • Deesis

    James Pastor Jones martyred no one. Deluded false believing Moslems did that. If I denounce Nazis am I guilty for the deaths of those they kill in retaliation? No

  • Hans-Georg Lundahl

    Does the archbishop want Muslims to control what is said and done about Mohammad, not only in their contries, but in the free world too?

    Is it only burning Korans, or will the next step be limiting refutations of its content or claims made for it to be God’s own revelation?

  • Oferdesade

    there is no logical contradiction here. the moslems in pakistan are murderers and should be tried and hung. jones is a petty coward who should be tried and whipped.

  • Who caused this?

    I think those in the mass media who choose to promote such insignificant events as an unknown pastor burning a Quran – who then manufacture it into a world event – should be put to trail first.

    People will most likely always disrespect religions – but it needn’t seem like a global event where people are killed if these insignificant events are left to the background of society.

    It is not in the public interest to hear inflamatory abuse from weirdos.

    It’s terrible that this man is now manufactured by the media to be a ‘representative’ of Islam – just as it is terrible that outcasts of the Muslim community like Chowdry or Abu Hamsa are manufactured into ”representatives of the Muslims.

    There is a war on God and those who Love Him

    Let’s stay ahead of the Mass media types who trawl through the filth of society, like flies, and instead seek out the good!

  • Get real!

    Pulling the strings of the West to invade the Muslim countries, rape torture and impose resisted regimes on the masses?

    It’s a poor theory