Two Iranian grand ayatollahs issued fatwas calling for the killing of those who insult the Koran, including anyone who burns the Islamic holy book, the state-run Fars news agency reported.
No one was specified in the decrees, which were issued by Nasser Makarem-Shirazi and Hossein Nouri-Hamedani in response to questions asked by student groups from universities in Tehran, Fars said. Such an action against any individual could only be carried out with the authorization of an Islamic religious judge, they said.
“Undoubtedly, the blood of a person who burns the Koran should be shed,” Makarem-Shirazi was cited by Fars as saying. Everybody should “strongly condemn” such an act.
A pastor from Florida planned to hold a Koran-burning event on Sept. 11 to mark the ninth anniversary of the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S. Cleric Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, suspended and then canceled the act after an appeal by President Barack Obama.
“We feel that God is telling us to stop,” Jones said Sept. 11 in an interview with NBC’s “Today Show.” The move may open the way for talks with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who plans to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site, Jones said.