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Australian lawyer smokes pages of Bible and Koran, asking 'Which is best?'
An Australian lawyer, Alex Stewart, has smoked pages torn from the Koran and the Bible, posting the video on YouTube just days after an American Pastor's threat to burn the Muslim holy book caused worldwide outrage.
In a 12-minute clip entitled "Bible or Koran – which burns best?" Mr Stewart, who works for the Queensland University of Technology, holds up the two religious texts before ripping them apart and lighting the rolled up pages.
At one stage he inhales deeply from one of the roll-ups before blowing out the smoke and commenting: "Holy".
The video, which has since been deleted, was posted on the video-sharing site over the weekend, coinciding with the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Last week Terry Jones, a controversial Christian preacher who presides over a small church in Florida, drew international condemnation after announcing a plan to burn 200 copies of the Koran.
"With respect to books like the Bible and the Koran, whatever, just get over it," Mr Stewart said in the footage. "The video was a joke video, of course," he added.
"People do this stuff all the time and if people get really upset about this then they're taking it far too seriously."
Mr Stewart, a member of an atheist group in Brisbane, has begun a period of leave following a meeting with his employers today. He insists he wasn't smoking drugs in the video but had sprinkled grass cuttings into the rolled up pages.
"The university is obviously extremely, extremely unhappy and disappointed that this sort of incident should occur," Queensland University of Technology vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake said.
Islamic groups urged Muslims not to react to the provocation
"There is no need for this kind of thing, just to create disunity and disharmony among people living in Australia," said Sheik Muhammad Wahid, president of the Islamic Association of Australia.