David Petraeus: Burning Koran Not Good For Troops
If, as U.S. Afghanistan and NATO Commander David Petraeus says burning the Koran isn’t good for the troops, neither can be statements and actions that insult Islam.
The comments from Gen. David Petraeus followed a protest Monday by hundreds of Afghans over the plans by Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center — a small, evangelical Christian church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy — to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that provoked the Afghan war.
“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,” Petraeus said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The church is taking the general’s warning seriously.
In 2005, 15 people died and scores were wounded in riots in Afghanistan sparked by a story in Newsweek magazine alleging interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay placed copies of the Quran in washrooms and flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. Newsweek later retracted the story.
Responding to Petraeus’ comments, Dove World Outreach Center’s senior pastor Terry Jones acknowledged the Quran burning would be regarded as offensive and said the church was taking the general’s words “very, very serious.”
“We are definitely weighing the situation,” Jones added. “We are weighing the thing that we are about to do, what it could possibly cause, what is our actual message, what are we trying to get across. It’s very, very important that America wakes up.”
Maybe, then, the church will confine itself to selling its “Islam is of the Devil” T-shirts. However, the pastor involved said on CNN today, “We have firmly made up our mind.”
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