US shares India’s concern on bid to burn Quran (Lead)

September 10th, 2010 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) The US Friday assuaged India’s concerns over threats by an American pastor to burn the Quran and underlined that such “disruptive and disrespectful” attempts hurt efforts to counter terror attacks like those in New York and Mumbai.

A day before the ninth anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and discussed ways to further expand counter-terror cooperation between the two countries. The 9/11 terror attacks, blamed on the Al Qaeda, killed more than 2,500 people.

Chidambaram conveyed India’s concern over threats by Terry Jones, pastor of a small church in Florida, to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the attacks.

Roemer spared no attempt in condemning it and said the US shared with India the values of religious tolerance and multi-cultural existence.

“I certainly expressed to Mr. Chidambaram that the US is strongly condemning any action to burn Quran,” he told reporters after meeting Chidambaram.

“This is disruptive, divisive, disrespectful and also this does not represent American values in shape and form. The minister and I talked about this,” he said.

Condemning the planned burning of the Quran, Chidambaram Thursday had asked US authorities to take “strong action” to prevent such an “outrage” being committed.

Alluding to similar messages by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Roemer stressed that the US and India looked at this issue through the same prism and feel that “this is very disruptive, disrespectful and this hurt the efforts to counter the evil and bloodthirsty elements around the world”.

“We look for ways to have our two countries work together on the global stage to counter these efforts to attack Mumbai or New York in the future,” he said while calling for accelerating counter-terror cooperation between the two countries.

“Part of these efforts are military and a great deal through development, through diplomacy, through religion being respected and through working together at the inter-faith level,” he said.

“We are talking about the global cooperation between India and the US on terrorism,” Roemer said, stressing that the India-US ties are growing in all sectors.

The US envoy lauded India’s “welcoming, tolerant, multi-faith society” and decried decried such acts of intolerance.

“Religious freedom is a value enshrined in the US Constitution and one of the many core values we share with the people of India,” he said while conveying Eid greetings to the Muslims of India.

Referring to his recent visit to Varanasi, Roemer said he was struck by how people of different religions worked together, talked to one another and respected each other in the 4,000-year-old eastern Indian city.

“I came out of Varanasi thinking that this is not just a city of temples, this is a city of hope for the world. Sikhs, Jains, Hindus and Christians… all come together not just to pray and dialogue, actually they work together at the local level… on all problems and addressing the problem,” he said.

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