Religious and political leaders across the Muslim world welcomed a decision by a small American church to suspend its plans to torch copies of their holy book — but some said Friday the damage has already been done.
The Rev. Terry Jones from the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida triggered international outrage when he announced he would burn the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with hundreds of angry protesters in Afghanistan and Pakistan burning U.S. flags and chanting "Death to the Christians."
His decision to hold off, made overnight when many in Asia were sleeping, was met with relief.
"Quran burning plan aborted! Sanity prevails," Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told followers on the social networking site, Twitter. "Praise be to Allah. Our challenge: promote peace and justice."
But cleric Rusli Hasbi told 1,000 worshippers attending Friday morning prayers in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, that Jones had already "hurt the heart of the Muslim world."