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In South Africa, judge outlaws burning Bibles, Qurans, other holy books

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(Read caption) A man picks up a Koran book in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community center in Mordern, South London, September 10. A South African court on Friday blocked a Muslim activist’s planned 'Bible burning day,' meant as a response to the now-cancelled Quran burning in Florida.

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A South African court on Friday blocked a Muslim activist’s planned "Bible burning day," meant as a response to the now-cancelled Quran burning in Florida.

Several Muslims in Johannesburg, where the event was set to take place, launched an 11th hour interdict in the High Court to stop Mohammed Vawda from setting a Bible bonfire on Sept. 11. They argued that such an event would be divisive and an insult to all religions.

After a 40-minute hearing in the South Gauteng High Court, Judge Sita Kolbe agreed and banned the event. The ruling also amounts to a ban in South Africa on the burning of any Bibles and other religious books.

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Lawyer Yasmin Omar, who represented an Islamic intellectual organization called Scholars of the Truth, spearheaded the legal bid with her husband, Zehir.

They called Mr. Vawda's plans "appalling."

After the verdict Mr. Omar said, "I’m very pleased the judge came to this decision. Not only did he ban this protest but he also banned other people from burning the Bible.

"Judge Kolbe ruled that freedom of expression is not unlimited if one exercises freedom of expression that is harmful to others.... We now hope American judges will see this decision and act accordingly by banning the burning of the Quran in America,” he said.

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