The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has criticized the burning of the Holy Qur’an at a US military base in Afghanistan, referring to the incident as a “deplorable act of incitement.”
On Thursday, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu released a statement saying that the act runs “contrary to the common efforts of the OIC and that of the international community including the United States government, to combat intolerance, and incitement to hatred based on religion and belief.”
The statement also called on “the concerned authorities to take swift and appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible.”
On Tuesday, reports emerged saying that foreign troops had burned “a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Qur’ans” at the US-run Bagram Airbase, located 11 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of the city of Charikar in Afghanistan’s Parwan Province.
Thousands of furious Afghans have since them held anti-US demonstrations across the country to show their anger over the desecration.
So far, 20 people have been killed in the demonstrations. At least two demonstrators were killed by gunfire from the base as Afghan protesteters stormed the walls and hurled rocks under a pall of thick black smoke on Thursday.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama sent a letter to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Thursday, apologizing for the burning of copies of the Holy Qur’an by American forces in Afghanistan.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the letter was delivered to Karzai by US Ambassador to Kabul Ryan Crocker.
Obama told Karzai that the incident, which has sparked angry protests against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was not intentional, Vietor said.
“In the letter … the president also expressed our regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled at Bagram Airbase,” the senior US official noted.