The Quran teaches Muslims to respect the sacred books of Christians and Jews as well, says Chris van Gorder, a religion professor at Baylor University in Texas.
"To burn a holy Quran for a Muslim is to throw down a gauntlet," he says. "Those who deface any holy book, including the Bible, in many Muslim countries today, will be executed.
"How many Bibles have been burned in the Muslim world in the last nine years? None."
Muslims, along with Jews and Christians are known by some as "people of the book." Each religion descends from the same branch. The prophet Abraham is their patriarch.
The Quran considers both Jesus and Moses great prophets. It also praises Mary, the mother of Jesus, says Shahin, the Notre Dame professor.
"Moses and Jesus are mentioned more than the Prophet Muhammad in the Quran," Shahin says.
The Quran doesn't just preach religious tolerance; the Prophet Muhammad demonstrated it in his life, Shahin says. The prophet would meet Christian delegations in his mosque.
"He would allow them to perform Christian prayers in the mosque," Shahin says.
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