Planned Qur'an burning earns Khan's wrath

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

You can add Obby Khan's voice to the growing international outrage over a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Islamic holy book.

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber centre, a devout Muslim, says he's saddened, hurt and offended by news a pastor at an evangelical Christian church in Gainesville is orchestrating the burning of 200 copies of the Qur'an this Saturday -- the ninth anniversary of 9/11.

"I'm actually really saddened by that," Khan said following Bomber practice, Wednesday. "We don't live in that world anymore. It's real pathetic, if you ask me. I'm embarrassed for him, and he's giving all those people a bad name, too. He represents a small minority of people who feel that way. The majority of Muslims in the world are great people."

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center has sparked a global firestorm by promising to torch the books.

Already there have been protests in Afghanistan, with U.S. officials warning of possible repercussions for American troops there.

"It's very insulting to the religion," Khan said. "He's just fuelling the fire. There has to come a point where you just say, 'OK, this is the damage that's been done. Let's start building bridges. Let's start moving forward.'

"We need to have open dialogue. This type of action only pushes people farther towards being extreme fundamentalists. And we don't need that. Something needs to be done about it."

Khan says the Qur'an means "everything" to him. He leaned on it heavily through his bouts with colitis a few years ago.

"It's very similar to the Bible and the Torah, in the sense that it's a way of life," he said. "It outlines everything I do, from on the practice field to how I conduct myself in my personal aspects ... anywhere I go, I fall back on the Qur'an. It's been my pillar. It's been my strength when I went through all my ordeals of being sick and my father passing... I always turned to it."

The planned burning is to come at the end of the fasting holy month of Ramadan.

Khan no longer fasts because he had much of his intestine removed. But he says he reads the book several times a day.

The burning has been widely denounced, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling it "disgraceful."

Jones, though, who's also written a book entitled, Islam is of the Devil, says he has plenty of support.


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