Cleric urges Pope to react to US 'crimes'
Grand Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli
A senior Iranian cleric has criticized the presence of US-led forces in neighboring countries, calling on the Pope to react to Washington's "crimes" in the region.
“Look to Iran's east; people are killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan everyday. Look to the West; terror and killings continue daily in Iraq. Across the Middle East, murder happens daily,” Grand Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli said in a meeting with the Vatican Pontifical Council in Qom on Thursday.
Ayatollah Javadi Amoli added that Iran expects Pope Benedict XVI to react to US oppressions and crimes, Mehr News Agency reported.
The Council arrived in Tehran earlier this week to attend the seventh round of meetings between the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
The conference began on Monday at the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization headquarters and was attended by senior Catholic and Muslim clergy.
President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran and Archbishop of Tehran Ramzi Garmou were among the participants in the meeting.
"We expect the Pope to… consider the Qur'an as holy as the Gospels and Torah and condemn the disgraceful act of torching the Qur'an," Javadi-Amoli said.
Florida pastor Terry Jones sparked fury ahead of the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 by urging commemorators to torch copies of the Holy Qur'an.
Although the pastor called off his plans, other anti-Islam extremists in the US tore pages and burned copies of the Muslim holy book.
The act sparked outrage in the Muslim world, with millions demonstrating across the globe to denounce the desecration of the Muslim holy book.