Imam Hussein Halawa said if the burning had happened, it would have been considered an act of terror by Muslims and would have led to violence.
Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Centre church in Florida, withdrew plans to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
His threat attracted worldwide condemnation and a phone call from US defence secretary Robert Gates who said the burning would put the lives of American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq at risk.
Pastor Jones had objected to the plan to build a mosque in New York on the site of the September 11th attack.
Speaking through a translator yesterday afternoon, Imam Halawa said he was “very grateful to Allah” that the burning was called off. “Otherwise it would create violence with Muslims everywhere,” he said.
“That’s because the holy Koran is the most sacred masterpiece for Muslims. We do not accept insult to any religion and so we do not accept any insult to our own religion.”
He said such an act, if it had happened, would be considered an act of terror and would lead to a counter-reaction of terror and violence.
“I am sorry such an act was to be done by a holy man or a priest,” he added.
Hundreds of Muslims had gathered at Clonskeagh Mosque yesterday to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of the fasting season of Ramadan. A barbecue and games for children in the grounds of the mosque and community centre followed a morning of prayer. Families and friends greeted each other with a hug and “may Allah accept your fasting and my fasting”.
Over 40 nationalities were represented at the celebrations, each enjoying what was a mild and showery day in the capital. People expressed their relief that Ramadan, which requires them to fast from sunrise to sunset, was complete.
Safi Eddine, from Gorey, Co Wexford, said the observance was particularly tough in Ireland because we have such long days. “I am from Tunisia and the day used to be shorter even in the summer time, but in Ireland it is so long, but it is great that it is finished,” he said.