First Threat of Violence
Christians have sought protection for a church in Madhya Pradesh state after an anonymous letter threatened to blast it if a US Evangelical group went ahead with its plan to burn Qur’ans.
The threat came as the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida reportedly confirmed its plans to host the controversial event on Sept. 11 to mark the ninth anniversary of terror attacks in the United States.
The letter posted on Aug. 31 threatened to blast the Church of North India’s 53-year-old Bethlehem Church situated in Bhopal, the state capital.
The church’s pastor Reverend Sanjay Solomon told ucanews.com on Sept. 8 that the letter said it would hold the church “responsible” if a Qur’an was burned.
“Don’t treat it as a mere threat,” it said according to the priest.
He said church authorities “immediately approached” the police for protection who have strengthen their presence in the area, the pastor said.
Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, who heads the Catholic Church in the state, said anonymous letters are normally a “ploy” to create sectarian discord.
He said he will talk to leaders of the Muslim community to avoid confusion. He had already met Muslim leaders in the city soon after media first reported about the Qur’an burning plan early last month.
The archbishop said Christian groups condemn the plan because burning a Holy Book “is a serious crime that cannot be pardoned.”
Mazood Ahammad Khan, secretary of the co-ordination committee for Indian Muslims said the Qur’an burning plan “is a matter of serious concern for all of us and such an idea must be nipped in the bud.”