The Vatican added to world condemnation of plans by a Florida church to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States by burning a Koran, calling it an "outrageous" act.
Leaders ranging from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the head of the Islamic Society of North America and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan have denounced plans by the pastor of a tiny Florida church to burn a copy of the Koran.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Vatican said it had heard with great concern of the planned commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijack attacks, which killed 2,752 people.
"These deplorable acts of violence, in fact, cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community," it said.
"Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection," it said in the statement.