The Qur'an needs to recognized as a hate manual and flushed
U.S. pastor says he will put Mohammed 'on trial' next as NATO chief condemns Koran burning for starting riots
Last updated at 7:20 PM on 3rd April 2011
Despite clear evidence that his actions have led to multiple murders and widespread violence in the Middle East, controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones has vowed to step up his provocative campaign against Islam.
The radical pastor said that he was considering putting Islamic prophet Mohammed 'on trial' for his next 'day of judgement' publicity stunt.
His last, in which he oversaw the burning of a copy of the Koran after a six-hour mock trial, has been directly responsible for a wave of violence that began last night and has left 30 people dead and more than 150 injured.
The defiant stance has led General Petraeus, the head of NATO forces in Afghanistan, to join international condemnation of pastor Jones.
The General urged Afghans to understand only a small number of people had been disrespectful to the Koran and Islam.
He said: 'We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Koran.
'We also offer condolences to the families of all those injured and killed in violence which occurred in the wake of the burning of the Holy Koran.'
The call comes after a third day of violence in Afghanistan saw at least ten deaths, 78 injured and at least 17 arrests as protesters clash with security forces in Kandahar.
There were also reports of attempted suicide attacks on a U.S. military base in Kabul, but these were not directly linked to Mr Jones's actions.
The vilified pastor remains unrepentant about his actions, and has even hinted that he will take his provocative stance further.
He said in an interview: 'It is definitely a consideration to stage a trial on the life of Mohammed in the future.'
Such a move would trigger further violent protests in the Muslim world - even in more moderate Islamic states.
But Mr Jones shows no signs of backing down, refusing to admit the violence is his fault, and apparently proud of his actions.
In an interview at his Dove World Outreach Center, the pastor at least admitted that he was saddened by the Afghan attacks - but added that he would burn the Koran again if given the chance.
He told the New York Times: 'It was intended to stir the pot; if you don’t shake the boat, everyone will stay in their complacency.
'Emotionally, it’s not all that easy. People have tried to make us responsible for the people who are killed. It’s unfair and somewhat damaging.
'Did our action provoke them? Of course. Is it a provocation that can be justified? Is it a provocation that should lead to death?
'When lawyers provoke me, when banks provoke me, when reporters provoke me, I can’t kill them. That would not fly.'
It is not surprising that Mr Jones should mention lawyers, banks and reporters as his tormentors.
The pastor, whose church membership has dwindled and who is a hate figure in his own community, is also near broke.
A second wave of violence began this morning when demonstrators clashed with security forces.
A statement by the Kandahar governor's office said that 10 protesters had been killed and 78 injured. Seventeen people, including seven armed men, were arrested, the statement said.
Mr Jones told the Times that, in recent weeks, he had received more than 300 death threats via phone and email, and had been told by the FBI that there was a $2.4 million contract on his life.
He said: 'I don’t right now feel personally afraid. But we are armed.'
Mr Jones admitted that he knew the Koran-burning stunt could lead to violence, adding: 'We were worried. We knew it was possible.'
But it clearly did not stop him.
The recent killings, which involved the beheading of two UN guards in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, will not do anything to add to Mr Jones's international popularity.
His March 20 burning stunt received little press in Afghanistan at first. But after President Hamid Karzai condemned the burning of the book and religious leaders called for justice in sermons yesterday, thousands poured into the streets in several cities to protest.
At least eight UN staff and around a dozen locals were murdered after a mob killed the UN guards, stole their weapons and opened fire.
In other attacks a suicide bomber struck Kabul and a violent demonstration rattled the southern city of Kandahar.
Security forces shot rounds into the air in Kandahar to stop a crowd from burning shops and cars bent on destruction while much of the rest of the city was closed.
Reports said 10 people were killed and around 78 were wounded.
Yesterday Mr Jones, who ignored international warnings that his actions would undoubtedly lead to violent reprisals, said the blame laid at the feet of the attackers.
He said: 'We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities. The time has come to hold Islam accountable.
'Our United States government and our President must take a close, realistic look at the radical element Islam. Islam is not a religion of peace.
'We demand action from the United Nations. Muslim dominated countries can no longer be allowed to spread their hate against Christians and minorities.'
President Barack Obama did speak out about the violence last night - but did not mention Pastor Jones. He said: 'We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to reject violence and resolve differences through dialogue.'
Obama said the desecration of the Koran 'is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry' - but that was the closest he came to touching on the Jones subject.
The Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility for the killings, saying they were part of a campaign of violence in the run up to presidential elections.
The bloodshed on Friday is the worst attack on the U.N. in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.
Among those murdered were Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish and Nepalese nationals. Two were decapitated.
The Norwegian Defence Ministry said one of the Norwegian victims was Lt. Col Siri Skare, a 53-year-old female pilot.
Mr Jones, a former furniture salesman, was quick to respond to accusations that blood was on his hands over the killings.
he said: 'They must alter the laws that govern their countries to allow for individual freedoms and rights, such as the right to worship, free speech, and to move freely without fear of being attacked or killed.'
The controversial pastor triggered international outrage last year when he urged Americans to burn the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
He relented following an intervention by President Obama but on March 20 he and pastor Wayne Sapp finally carried out their threat.
After Sapp set fire to the text, he let it burn for ten minutes.
Mohammad Azim, a businessman in Mazer-i-Sharif, said that before the violence, clerics with loudspeakers had driven around the city in two cars to invite residents to the protest.
According to Afghan officials it looks increasingly likely that the attacks were carried out by insurgents who had blended into the angry crowds.
Last night Afghan police said they had arrested the suspected mastermind behind the attack.
Rawof Taj, deputy police chief in Balkh province, said this evening he was one of more than 20 people arrested after the violence.
Taj said the suspected mastermind was from Kapisa province, a hotbed of the insurgency about 250 miles south east of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Staffan De Mistura, the top UN representative in Afghanistan, was heading to Mazar-i-Sharif to handle the matter personally.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Nairobi that the attack was 'outrageous and cowardly'.
The worst previous attack was in 2009 in an insurgent assault on a guesthouse where UN staff were staying. Five UN staffers were killed and nine others wounded.
In October 2010, several militants were killed when they attempted to ambush the UN compound in Herat dressed in burkas worn by women.
General Daud Daud, commander of Afghan National Police in several northern provinces, said those killed included five Nepalese guards who were working for the UN and two other foreigners employed at the complex.
A UN spokesman confirmed that workers had been killed at the mission, but he said the situation on the ground was still confusing and it was difficult to 'ascertain facts'.
The deaths are a major setback for the U.N. and international forces who want the Afghan government to take control of its own security by 2014.
Only last week President Hamid Karzai said the city of Mazar-i-Sharif would be one of the first areas handed over to Afghan control this year.
Simmering anger at the burnings finally erupted across the Middle East today.
Thousands of demonstrators marched through the western Afghan city of Herat.
There, protesters burned a U.S. flag at a sports stadium and chanted 'Death to the US' and 'They broke the heart of Islam'.
Around 200 also protested near the U.S. embassy in Kabul. Both protests remained relatively peaceful.
Demonstrations against the Koran burning also took place in Pakistan today.
Women representing the Working Women Welfare Trust marched through the streets of Karachi voicing their anger against Pastor Jones.
Last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement calling the burning a 'crime against a religion'.
He denounced it as a 'disrespectful and abhorrent act' and called on the U.S. and the UN to bring to justice those who burned the holy book and issue a response to Muslims around the world.
He also said Mazar-i-Sharif would be one of the first parts of the war-torn country that Afghan security would take from Nato forces.
Protests over Koran burning spread in Afghanistan, with 9 dead in Kandahar
By Joshua Partlow and Javed Hamdard, Saturday, April 2, 12:01 PM
KABUL — Violent protests over the burning of a Koran spread to the heart of Taliban country Saturday, as clashes between demonstrators and Afghan police in Kandahar left at least nine people dead and more than 90 injured, according to Afghan officials.
The clashes marked the second consecutive day that mobs thronged the streets of major Afghan cities to protest the burning of Islam’s holy book last month by a Florida pastor. On Friday, a mob attacked a U.N. compound in the normally placid northern city of Mazar-e Sharif and killed seven U.N. employees: four Nepalese guards and three European staff members.
The Koran burning also prompted more peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Kabul, in the western city of Herat and in the northern province of Takhar.
The protests have tapped into a well of frustration among many Afghans about the decade-long presence of U.S. and international troops on their soil. The sentiments expressed in signs and chants have denounced America and President Obama and called on troops to leave the country. The Taliban has played a murky role in the protests so far: Some Afghan officials allege its fighters have infiltrated crowds to encourage violence, but it has been content in public statements to cheer on the protesters without claiming responsibility for the unrest.
The protests have also been fueled by mullahs, who in their Friday sermons took a cue from President Hamid Karzai’s denunciation of Jones’s church four days after the Koran was burned. Afghan mosques, even mainstream, publicly funded ones, have emerged as a powerful anti-American voice in the country, and the imams regularly call for U.S. troops to withdraw.
The protests in Kandahar began Saturday morning with a few hundred people in a downtown bazaar not far from the offices of the provincial government. As the protesters moved around the city, the crowds grew larger. Some protesters said they had intended to approach the local U.N. office but were blocked by Afghan security forces.
Some of the participants were armed with guns and sticks and waving white flags, the banner of the Taliban. They set fire to a girls’ high school and torched buses and cars. Shops were shuttered, and security forces blocked roads to try to quell the violence.
The police opened fire on the crowds, the protesters said. The city’s provincial director of public health, Abdul Qayoum Pukhla, said all of the injured who came or were brought to Kandahar hospitals had suffered gunshot wounds.
“We’re still receiving wounded people,” he said after hours of violence.
The provincial police chief, Khan Mohammad Mojayed, denied that his men were firing on protesters, saying they were shooting in the air to disperse the crowd.
“The police have to protect the civilians,” he said. “Among the protesters, there were also some armed men with sticks and guns. They were stopping the cars and damaging them and opening fire.”
The provincial governor’s office issued a statement blaming the mayhem on “wicked and destructive people” among the protesters but endorsed people’s right to condemn the Koran burning.
Jan Aghan, a 28-year-old shopkeeper in Kandahar, said he took part to “show the infidels that we are unhappy with their actions.” He said that the protesters wanted to go to the U.N. office but that the “Afghan slave government and the cruel Americans” blocked their path.
“We think the Karzai government doesn’t want any protest against the people who burnt our holy book in America,” he said. “We are waiting to find a way to reach to the [U.N.] office and announce our objections.”
The governor’s spokesman, Zalmay Ayoubi, blamed the unrest on the “idiot, infidel, blasphemous Americans” and said the people have a right to show their anger about the desecration of the Koran.
Also Saturday morning, Taliban fighters attacked the gate of a large NATO military base on the outskirts of Kabul but failed to inflict serious damage or breach the compound walls, according to NATO and Afghan officials.
About six insurgents, including at least two disguised in burqas, the full-body covering common among Afghan women, attacked Camp Phoenix about 6:30 a.m. using Kalashnikovs and explosives, according to Afghan and NATO officials. Three NATO service members suffered minor injuries.
The guards at the base, on the eastern outskirts of the city, fought off the attackers and killed two of them, said Maj. Michael Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul. According to Afghan police officials, three of the insurgents wore suicide vests and blew themselves up.
One 25-year-old Afghan man who lives in the poor neighborhood around the base was also killed. The spokesman for Kabul’s police chief said an investigation has begun to determine whether the man was the driver for the attackers or an innocent bystander.
Johnson said there was “absolutely no indication” that the attack on Camp Phoenix, used by the American military, was related to the Koran burning protests.
WASHINGTON (CNN) May 13, 2005 -- The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says an investigation has so far turned up no evidence of U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrating the Muslim holy book, the Quran.
Reports of the alleged desecration have sparked public outrage in Muslim countries and violent demonstrations in Afghanistan.
Newsweek magazine, in its latest edition, quoted sources as saying that investigators probing abuses at the military prison had found that interrogators "had placed Qurans on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book down the toilet."
Gen. Richard Myers said Thursday that an investigation by the U.S. Southern Command, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has so far turned up no evidence that that incident took place.
"They have looked through the logs, interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there was ever the case of the toilet incident," Myers said.
Pakistan, a close ally of the United States in its war on terror, has condemned the reported incidents at Guantanamo and urged strong punishment for anyone found responsible.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said any such desecration would be "intolerable" and "abominable."
He told CNN in a television interview from Sydney on Friday that if the situation was as reported, he hoped the United States would make an example of those responsible.
He said Pakistan expected the United States to act "sooner rather than later."
Many of the 520 inmates in Guantanamo are Pakistanis and Afghans captured after the September 11 attacks on America.
Despite both governments' support of the U.S.-led war on terrorism, suspicion lingers in the conservative Muslim nations about the American military.
Myers said the only incident recorded in the prison logs was of a detainee tearing pages from a Quran and using them in an attempt to block a toilet as a protest, and even that incident, he said, was unconfirmed.
"It's a log entry that has to be confirmed," he said. "There are several log entries that show that the Quran may have been moved and detainees became irritated about it, but never an incident where it was thrown in the toilet."
The Newsweek report fueled a protest by students in several cities in Afghanistan, including Jalalabad, where four protesters were killed and more than 60 injured Wednesday.
Myers cited U.S. commanders as saying the protests in Jalalabad, at least, were more about local politics than anti-American sentiment stirred up by the Newsweek report.
"It's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General (Carl) Eichenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Quran ... but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President (Hamid) Karzai and his cabinet is conducting in Afghanistan," Myers said.
"He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine."
However an Associated Press photo from Jalalabad showed a demonstrator holding a sign saying, "We strongly condemn insulting Quran by American army."
In demonstrations in Kabul at least one banner carried by protesters said, "Those who insult the Quran should be brought to justice." And statements made on video by a protester in another city referred specifically to what was included in the Newsweek report.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Thursday, started off by addressing the issue.
"Disrespect for the Holy Quran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States. We honor the sacred books of all the world's great religions. Disrespect for the Holy Quran is abhorrent to us all. ...
"Our military authorities are investigating these allegations fully. If they are proven true, we will take appropriate action. ... Guaranteeing religious rights is of great personal importance to the president and to me."
Police fired on hundreds of anti-U.S. demonstrators Thursday in the town of Khogyani to prevent them from departing toward Jalalabad, about 20 miles to the north, local police chief Maj. Gul Wali said.
Wali said three of the protesters died and one was injured. He claimed many at the gathering were armed.
However, Interior Ministry spokesman Latufallah Mashal said only two people died in Khogyani, while a third protester died in a separate clash with police in Wardak province, south of Kabul.
In Kabul, more than 200 young men marched from a dormitory block near Kabul University chanting "Death to America!" and carrying banners including one stating: "Those who insult the Quran should be brought to justice."
Ahmad Shah, a political sciences undergraduate, said the students decided to protest after hearing of the deaths in Jalalabad on Wednesday.
"America is our enemy and we don't want them in Afghanistan," Shah said as the students ended their protest and returned to classes later Thursday. "When they insult our holy book they have insulted us."
Growing urban unrest could pose another security challenge for the U.S.-backed Afghan government, which is already battling a reinvigorated Taliban insurgency. About 18,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, fighting rebels and searching for Taliban and al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden.
Muslim Clerics: Hand Qur'an Culprits Over To Us or Face Holy War
Sunday, May 15, 2005
BEIRUT - Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim cleric
called on Sunday for an international probe into a report that U.S.
interrogators desecrated the Koran at a military prison camp in Cuba.
"Every day, the United States commits new follies that deepen the hatred of the Islamic world toward it and still American officials say 'why do they hate us?"' Lebanon's Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani said in a statement.
"The United States must investigate the crime of desecrating the holy Koran through an international committee with the participation of Islamic countries to show it understands the danger of the crime carried out by its soldiers in Guantanamo detention centers, and bring down the severest punishments on them to prove its intentions toward Islam and Muslims."
Newsweek magazine said in its May 9 edition investigators probing abuses at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay found that interrogators "had placed Korans on toilets and, in at least one case, flushed a holy book down the toilet."
Muslims consider the Koran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence. The report sparked demonstrations in Afghanistan, where 16 people have been killed in the worst anti-American protests since the United States invaded in 2001.
The United States has tried to calm global Muslim outrage over the incident, saying disrespect for the Koran was abhorrent and would not be tolerated and that military authorities were investigating the allegations.
Lebanon's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric said the incident was part of a U.S. policy to breed hatred of Islam.
"The desecration of the holy Koran in the terrifying Guantanamo detention center that America created under the title of fighting terrorism against the Muslims who have been arbitrarily rounded up there, is one of the American methods of torture," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said.
"This is not an isolated act carried out by an American soldier but is part of an American program...of contempt for Islam, to disfigure its image in the minds of Americans."
The unforgivable crime of Islam!
the Holy Qur’an at a US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba a “great crime”.
“The Qur’an’s desecration is a great crime and should be dealt with at once,” Tantawi told the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
But he held back from issuing an official condemnation “so as not to stoop to the level of the presumed authors”.
“It’s a bunch of kids, criminals that should be punished and I will not publish a statement to answer such people,” said the sheikh of the revered Al-Azhar institution in Cairo.
The mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, however, opted for a straight condemnation.
“It’s an unforgivable crime toward the monotheistic religions which call on the faithful to respect the sacred values of other religions,” said the country’s religious leader, quoted by the official news agency Mena.
“The Muslims will not remain silent in the face of an aggression on their sacred values.”
The Arab and Muslim world has expressed its horror at a report published in the US weekly Newsweek which said interrogators at Guantanamo kept copies of the Qur’an in toilet cubicles to rattle detainees and one was put down a toilet.
The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) insisted yesterday on the “harshest punishment” for the culprits “to ensure that this is not repeated and the dignity of Muslims is preserved”.
“Such acts can fuel hatred between religions,” warned the GCC in a statement issued from its Riyadh base.
In Tehran, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also called for punishment to be meted out.
“US officials should have reacted, expressed their outrage and punished those responsible much sooner,” he said. “Unfortunately, we sense a hostile tendency in the US towards Islam.”
Lebanon’s top Sunni cleric called for an international probe into the reported desecration.
“Every day, the US commits new follies that deepen the hatred of the Islamic world toward it and still American officials say ‘why do they hate us?’” Lebanon’s Mufti Mohamed Rashid Qabbani said in a statement.
“The US must investigate the crime of desecrating the Holy Qur’an through an international committee with the participation of Islamic countries to show it understands the danger of the crime carried out by its soldiers in Guantanamo detention centres, and bring down the severest punishments on them to prove its intentions towards Islam and Muslims.” – Agencies
CALCUTTA -- Muslim protesters burned, spit, and urinated on a US flag yesterday in eastern India, accusing Americans of desecrating Islam's holy book as anger persisted despite the retraction of a magazine report that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
US officials have said they found nothing to substantiate the Newsweek report that interrogators at the camp flushed a copy of the holy book down the toilet to unnerve an inmate.
But because of frequent reports of mistreatment at the camp from released detainees, some Muslims remained convinced that the desecration happened and that US officials pressured the magazine to retract the story.
In London, a former prisoner at Guantanamo said at a demonstration outside the US Embassy that guards at the camp had mistreated his Koran.
''This was one of the methods they used, throwing the Koran, my Koran, on the floor in my cell. This was in the first month at Camp Delta, but it is not something that stopped, rather continued and increased," said Martin Mubanga, who was released from the prison in January.
''It's a shame we have had to wait for a magazine to publish and then retract a story concerning the treatment of the Koran."
He spoke as about 200 protesters outside the embassy chanted ''kill, kill George Bush" and other anti-US slogans. A man with a megaphone led chants including ''USA, watch your back -- Osama is coming back" and ''bomb, bomb New York."
Thousands also took to the streets in the Palestinian territories and in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, but the demonstrations were nothing on the scale of rioting in Afghanistan last week in which 15 people died and protesters threw rocks at police.
Riot police watched but did not stop about 500 protesters who shouted slogans against the United States and forced a traffic shutdown in the heart of the eastern Indian city of Calcutta.
The protest began at a mosque after Friday afternoon prayers conducted by the imam, or chief priest, who then led demonstrators to the road.
''Death to America!" they cried as men spat on the flag.
They asked a boy in the crowd to urinate on it. The 20-minute protest ended with the burning of two American flags.
Quran is Muslims' Manifesto
"Quran is the manifesto of Muslims and they should try to bring its teachings
into their daily lives". "Preserving Quran was crucial for the religion to live
on, and Muslims did what they could to preserve Quran throughout history," said
Iran's Culture Minister in the opening ceremony of the 13th international Quran
"What we have today as Quranic works reflects innumerable concerns Muslims have had for preserving Quran and safeguarding it throughout history".
Commenting on the effect of Quran on all aspects of Muslims' lives, he added:" Quran has been present in all moments of Muslims' lives since its revelation. A muslim always has Quran with him, at the birth of his children, when his children marry, when he's moving form a house to another and at last, when he is to leave this world for the World After.
"Pattering Quran pages and calligraphy encourages the reader. Good reciting of the Quran can also have a profound effect in the hearts of listeners. Exegeses greatly help understanding the Quran. There have been great interpreters of the Quran whose methodology has cultivated the art of interpretation of the Quran in the Muslim world", said Saffar Harandi.
"We, as the guardians of the Quran, must go to the depths of the contents of the Holy Book, to read between the lines and bring quranic awareness into our daily lives, while caring about the external and apparent beauties. If we manage to do so, even to a limited extent, we will soon achieve a great success".
Inquiry into cop 'Koran outrage'
Nov 15 2005
By Robert Dex, South London Press
AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after reports that a cop threw a copy of the Koran in the bin after being called to a Muslim household.
The alleged incident happened two weeks ago when police were at an address in Camberwell. A joint statement from Southwark police and the borough's Muslim forum confirmed a complaint had been made.
It states: "On October 31 an incident took place within the London borough of Southwark which has led to a serious complaint regarding the alleged actions of police officers. One part of this complaint involved actions that allegedly showed disrespect for the Koran and the Muslim faith."
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been brought in to investigate the claims. A Met spokesman said Southwark police had met with members of the Muslim community to discuss the alleged incident.
He added: "Appropriate advice will continue to be sought from community representatives, including members of the Southwark Muslim Forum. "It is sincerely hoped that this complaint, while serious, will not be allowed to damage the effective engagement between the police and the wider community in Southwark." The IPCC will report next year.
Threats Greet Dutch Lawmaker's Call to Ban the Koran
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com International Editor
August 10, 2007
(CNSNews.com) - A Dutch lawmaker under fire for urging that the Koran be banned in his country says he will press ahead with the proposal, and submit it in the form of a parliamentary resolution next month.
Geert Wilders of the right-wing Freedom Party told Cybercast News Service that since calling for a ban -- in a letter published Wednesday in the newspaper De Volkskrant -- he had received death threats and criticism, "but fortunately also many positive responses from voters."
In his letter, published under the headline "Enough is enough: Ban the Koran," Wilders called the Koran a "fascist" text that has "no place in our constitutional state." He said some verses instruct Muslims "to oppress, persecute or kill Christians, Jews, dissidents and non-believers, to beat and rape women and to establish an Islamic state by force."
The Koran, like Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, should be banned in the Netherlands, he said.
The letter drew a swift response from the Dutch government. Elle Vogelaar, the minister for integration and housing, called it "an insult to the majority of Muslims in the Netherlands and abroad who reject calls to hate and violence."
"It has to be perfectly clear that banning the Holy Koran in the Netherlands is not up for discussion for this government and will not be up for discussion in future," she said.
Two lawyers have filed complaints against Wilders, accusing him of violating Dutch law with his statements.
The Iranian embassy in The Hague issued a statement urging Dutch politicians to take a stand against forces threatening to divide society, and Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement that Wilders' comments "reflect total ignorance of the substance of Islam and its precepts, applied by an overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world."
Wilders, whose new party holds nine of the 150 seats in the country's Second Chamber, the lower house of parliament, acknowledged that it would be an uphill battle to win majority support.
Even so, he told Cybercast News Service, "it is my duty as a parliamentarian to put forward ideas as I see them, both inside and outside parliament. In fact, we will have a parliamentary debate with the government in the beginning of September and I will put forward my proposal in parliament than as well [in the form of a resolution]."
The Netherlands is believed to have the second-largest per-capita Muslim population in western Europe, after France. About six percent of the population - one million out 16 million total - is Muslim, mostly of Turkish and Moroccan origin.
The country, long renown for its liberalism, has grappled increasingly in recent years with radical Islam, and inter-communal tensions worsened when a Dutch-Moroccan extremist in 2004 shot and stabbed to death Theo Van Gogh, a controversial filmmaker critical of Islamism.
Other critics of Islam threatened with death include Somalia-born Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who ultimately moved to the United States, and Wilders himself.
Last weekend an Iranian-born Dutch politician who recently set up a support group for people who have renounced Islam was violently attacked by three Muslims, although he was not hurt. Ehsan Jami, whose advisor said it was the third such incident, is now under police protection. Apostasy is punishable by death in some Muslim societies.
Wilders said it was the attack on Jami that prompted him to write his letter.
"It's terrible to see how naive and silent and politically correct the other political parties are about the biggest problem I believe the Netherlands, Europe and the West faces today, [Islamization]," he said.
Wilders expressed optimism, however, that the message was getting through. He noted that his party won nine seats in parliament last November, but that opinion polls today give it enough support to hold between 12 and 17 seats.
"The battle certainly is not lost. I am sure many, many Dutch voters share my views," Wilders said. "I will continue to fight.
Wilders' Freedom Party is known for favoring restriction on immigration, particularly from non-Western countries. He has tried on several occasions to have the wearing of the burqa outlawed, but without success.
Last month, integration minister Vogelaar caused a stir when she said the Netherlands should in the future be home to a "Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition."
A Dutch-Moroccan group praised her for her "courage," but other politicians objected, and Wilders said the minister should resign.
In an opinion survey last week, 56 percent of Dutch adult respondents rejected Vogelaar's remark.
The chairman of the country's largest Muslim group, the Contact Body for Muslims and Government, did not respond to invitations to comment for this story.
This is not the first time critics of Islam have called for the Koran to be banned.
In 1985, a Hindu in India petitioned the Calcutta High Court to have the book banned in that country, arguing that it incited violence, promoted enmity between different religious communities, and denigrated the beliefs of non-Muslim religions in India.
A footnote to the petition provided lists of Koranic suras that the applicant said insulted other religions, promoted hatred and incited violence. The court threw out the petition on a technicality, according to published accounts.
WORD FAITH INDEX