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Petraeus Warns Quran Burning Will Endanger Troops

Kristen Villarreal |
September 7, 2010 | 1:35 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Quran (Creative Commons)
Quran (Creative Commons)
Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, but some will also be celebrating the first International Burn a Quran Day, a move officials say could be dangerous.

Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has announced his church's plans to burn a copy of the Quran on the anniversary of September 11.

The Quran, the Muslim holy book, is considered the word of God. Muslims believe the Quran should be treated with respect. Any intentional harm to the book or any piece of literature containing its verses or the names of Allah or the Prophet Muhammad, is offensive. 

"Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan - and around the world - to inflame public opinion and incite violence," Gen. David Petraeus said Tuesday. Petraeus warned the act would endanger American troops and their efforts, as well as Americans around the world. 

The threats by the Florida church were met with rallies and protests in Afghanistan and smaller Islamic communities. American flags and a life-size doll of pastor Jones were burned and trampled. Hundreds of Afghans called for President Obama's death and death to America.

The small church will continue with their plans, despite the warnings from Petraeus and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said Tuesday the burning "would be in strong contradiction with all the values we stand and fight for." 

The Dove World Outreach Center is known for their disapproval of the Islamic faith. The congregation claims their acts, that previously included shirts and signs that read "Islam is of the devil", are to raise awareness and warn others of the danger of Islam. The church has created a facebook page for the event to take place Saturday and has maintained a blog on their website that includes a post titled "Ten Reasons to Burn a Quran."


Reach reporter Kristen Villarreal here.



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