United States Attorney General Eric Holder called a Florida church's threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book Koran to mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks idiotic and dangerous.
Others in the Obama administration weighed in against the proposed burning, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who on Tuesday called the planned burning a disrespectful, disgraceful act.
A State Department spokesman branded the planned protest un-American while other officials warned that it could threaten U.S. troops, diplomats and travelers overseas.
The Christian minister organizing the Koran burning said he will go ahead in spite of the government's concerns. Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, a small, evangelical Christian church in Gainesville, Florida, with an anti-Islam philosophy, said he had received more than 100 death threats and had taken to wearing a pistol on his hip.
In Washington, a broad coalition of religious leaders from evangelical, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim organizations called Jones' plan a violation of American values.
Clinton condemned the threat to burn the Koran during her remarks at a State Department dinner she hosted in observance of Iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths," Clinton said.
At the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs echoed concerns raised by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, about the plans. Petraeus said earlier that images of the event would be used by extremists to inflame public opinion and incite violence.
"Any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern to this administration," Gibbs told reporters.
Holder met Tuesday with religious leaders to discuss recent attacks on Muslims and mosques around the United States. The meeting was closed to reporters, but a Justice Department official who was present confirmed that Holder said the plan to burn the holy book was idiotic. The official, who requested anonymity because the meeting was private, also said Holder was quoting Petraeus when he used the word dangerous.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the administration hoped that more Americans would stand up and condemn the church's plan.
"We think that these are provocative acts," Crowley said. "We would like to see more Americans stand up and say that this is inconsistent with our American values; in fact, these actions themselves are un-American."
"We hope that between now and Saturday there will be a range of voices across America that make clear to this community that this is not the way for us to commemorate 9/11," he said. "In fact, it is consistent with the radicals and religious bigots who attacked us on 9/11."
Crowley defended his choice of the term un-American to describe the planned Koran burning, saying it was a divisive potential act of disrespect to one of the world's great religions.
"While we support (and) defend our freedoms, including freedom of expression, this is an action that has potential serious ramifications," he said.
"U.S. diplomats had already reported small-scale demonstrations against the Koran burning in several countries where anxiety levels are building because of the publicity surrounding this proposed action," he said. It does put the lives of ordinary Americans at risk, as well as diplomats, as well as soldiers.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he too was concerned about the effect the planned Koran burning may have. Of course there is a risk it will also have a negative impact on the security for our troops, Rasmussen told reporters in Washington, ahead of a meeting with Obama at the White House. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
BY Sean Alfano AND Adam Lisberg
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Mayor Bloomberg said Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who plans on a Koran-burning rally on Saturday's 9/11 anniversary, has every right to burn the sacred books – even though he finds it distasteful.
"In a strange way, I'm here to defend his right to do that. I happen to think that it is distasteful," Bloomberg said Tuesday.
"The First Amendment protects everybody, and you can't say that we're going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement," he added.
"If you want to be able to say what you want to say when the time comes that you want to say it, you have to defend others, no matter how, how much you disagree with them."
Jones, the Florida pastor who's planning a Koran-burning rally on Saturday's 9/11 anniversary, says he will go through with the event despite warnings from the White House and General David Petraeus that it could harm U.S. soldiers.
"We have firmly made up our mind, but at the same time, we are definitely praying about it," Jones, who heads the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Fla., told CNN Tuesday.
Jones said his group is "weighing the situation."
Later Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that burning Korans "puts our troops in harm's way."
Gibbs' comments echo those of Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who said Monday that the rally could hurt U.S. soldiers.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Petraeus said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult," he said.
Muslims in Afghanistan protested outside a mosque in Kabul Monday, chanting "Death to America" a day after thousands of Indonesians demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta.
Jones said his rally is aimed at the "radical" Muslims, not moderate Muslims.
"Our message is a message of warning to the radical element of Islam."
The three-hour rally is scheduled for Saturday amid heightened security, according to the Gainesville Sun.
Gibbs announced that President Obama will attend a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon Saturday to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Vice President Joe Biden will be in New York to honor 9/11 victims.
Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush will be at an event in Pennsylvania to honor the passengers of United Flight 93, one of the hijacked planes which crashed in a field on Sept. 11, 2001, Gibbs said. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
(CNN) -- A Florida pastor told CNN on Tuesday that while his congregation still plans to burn Qurans to protest the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the church is "weighing" its intentions.
Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, who was interviewed on CNN's "American Morning," said the congregation is taking seriously the warning from the U.S. military that the act could cause problems for American troops.
"We have firmly made up our mind, but at the same time, we are definitely praying about it," Jones said.
Later Tuesday, Jones had a response to a statement from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who said the burning of Islam's holy books "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas. "It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.
"The general needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them," Jones said on CNN's "AC360."
"We are burning the book," Jones said. "We are not killing someone. We are not murdering people."
The planned action has drawn sharp criticism from Muslims around the world and from U.S. officials.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday issued a statement saying the U.S. government "in no way condones such acts of disrespect against the religion of Islam, and is deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups." It emphasized that it strongly condemned "the offensive messages, which are contrary to U.S. government policy and deeply offensive to Muslims especially during the month of Ramadan."
"Americans from all religious and ethnic backgrounds reject the offensive initiative by this small group in Florida. A great number of American voices are protesting the hurtful statements made by this organization," the embassy said.
With about 120,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops still battling al Qaeda and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement, Petraeus warned that burning Qurans "is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems -- not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
Petraeus said he was concerned about the political repercussions of the church's plan.
"Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday," he said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."
One of Petraeus' deputies, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, told CNN's "The Situation Room" that the event "has already stirred up a lot of discussion and concern" among Afghans.
"We very much feel that this can jeopardize the safety of our men and women that are serving over here in the country," said Caldwell, the head of NATO efforts to train Afghan security forces.
Caldwell said American troops "are over here to defend the rights of American citizens, and we're not debating the First Amendment rights that people have." But he added, "What I will tell you is that their very actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we're trying to accomplish."
"I would hope they would understand that there are second- and third-order effects that will occur that will affect that young man and woman who's out there on point for America, serving their nation today, because of their actions back in the United States," he said.
Thousands of Indonesians gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday to protest the planned Quran burning.
"The burning is not only an insult to the holy Quran, but an insult to Islam and Muslims around the world," said Muhammad Ismail, a spokesman for the hard-line Indonesian Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Jones said his congregation is aware that the action is offensive.
"We realize that this action would indeed offend people, offend the Muslims. I am offended when they burn the flag. I am offended when they burn the Bible. But we feel that the message that we are trying to send is much more important than people being offended."
Jones said Muslims are welcomed in the United States, if they observe the Constitution and don't try to impose Sharia law, or Muslim law. The message, he said, is directed toward the "radical element of Islam."
"Our message is very clear," he said. "It is not to the moderate Muslim. Our message is not a message of hate. Our message is a message of warning to the radical element of Islam, and I think what we see right now around the globe provides exactly what we're talking about," he said.
The center says it was founded in 1986 as a "total concept church for the rich, the poor, the young and the old." Its purpose is to "stand up for righteousness and for the truth of the Bible." It stresses that "Christians must return to the truth and stop hiding."
"We need to speak up against sin and call the people to repentance. Abortion is murder. Homosexuality is sin. We need to call these things what they are and bring the world the true message: that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life," it says on the church's website.
It also emphasizes its dislike of Islam, and on its website, it blog posts an item called "Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran.
"Any religion which would profess anything other than this truth is of the devil. This is why we also take a stand against Islam, which teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, therefore taking away the saving power of Jesus Christ and leading people straight to Hell," the site says.
"It is our vision to go around, to preach and to challenge, and to get the church involved and ready. We must go outside of the walls, and march for righteousness."
Commenting the other day on Jones' critique of Islam, Plemon el-Amin, the imam of an Atlanta, Georgia, mosque, said that his words are "really quite uninformed."
"But in America, there is the freedom to be ignorant," el-Amin said. "The only problem is in the world, many people don't understand that particular freedom. So what he is doing is like shouting fire in a theater, in a world theater, and people are upset."
El-Amin said Jones has boasted of never reading the Quran, so, "He doesn't know that he's going to burn a book that has some of the most beautiful passages about Christ Jesus throughout, as well as Moses, Abraham and all of the prophets he reads about and says he follows in the Bible." But he said the best strategy would be to ignore Jones, "like we do people on corners saying the end of the world is coming."
Other religious organizations have joined with U.S. Muslim groups to oppose the Quran-burning. The National Association of Evangelicals is urging the church to cancel the event, warning that it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions, and Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu leaders in Gainesville have organized a "Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope" the night before the scheduled Quran burning.
The U.S. Embassy statement said that in his speech on Islam last year in Cairo, Egypt, President Obama said it is part of his responsibility to fight "negative stereotypes of Islam," and he mentioned interfaith efforts "to counter this kind of ignorance and misinformation."
"And during his recent Iftar speech at the White House, he said: Let me be clear: As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country."
In the CNN interview, Jones was asked about the Christian principle of turning the other cheek -- not acting out in violence or engaging in payback and in deed.
"I think in deed that most of the time, we as Christians are indeed called to turn the other cheek. I believe that most of the time, talk and diplomacy is the correct way. But I always think that once in a while, I think you see that in the Bible, there are incidents where enough is enough and you stand up," Jones said.
An armed Christian organization that had pledged to protect the Dove World Outreach Center withdrew its support from the Quran-burning last week, stating the event "may diminish the work of the Holy Spirit to witness to Muslims."
That group's founder, Shannon Carson, said he agrees with the church's stance on Islam, which he called a cult "that is invading our nation." But he complained that the "liberal media" is using stories about Jones' plans "to distract, divide and enrage the public." _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Первая жертва идеи сожжения Корана: по мусульманам, осадившим базу НАТО в Афганистане, открыли огонь
Один человек был убит и еще несколько ранены в пятницу, когда участники акции протеста против планов американского пастора сжечь Коран, попыталась атаковать базу НАТО на севере Афганистана.
Как передает Reuters со ссылкой на пресс-секретаря губернатора провинции Бадахшан, около 10 тыс. человек заполонили с утра улицы региональной столицы Файзабад после молитвы по случаю наступления праздника Ид аль-Фитр. Часть протестующих стала бросать камни в направлении базы, на которой дислоцируется германский воинский контингент, передает ИТАР-ТАСС.
По словам пресс-секретаря, в ответ с территории базы прозвучали выстрелы, в результате чего был убит один афганец. Начато расследование инцидента.
По данным информагентства AFP, в ходе акции протеста в пятницу в Файзабаде никто не погиб. Несколько полицейских и манифестантов получили легкие ранения. Силы НАТО приведены в повышенную боевую готовность.
Подобные акции проходят и в других районах Афганистана. Протесты проходят в афганской столице - Кабуле - и еще по крайней мере в пяти провинциях. Несколько сотен демонстрантов собрались в северном районе Кабула, около двух тысяч человек направились в сторону здания правительства. Протесты отмечены также в провинциях Бадгис на северо-западе, а также Гор и Герат, расположенных на западе страны.
В Кандагаре вожди племен угрожают атаковать базы НАТО вблизи границы с Пакистаном, если Джонс воплотит свой план в жизнь. "Если они это сделают, мы будем атаковать американские базы и перекроем шоссе, которое используют американские войска", - сказал священнослужитель имени Захидулла.
Напомним, акцию сожжения Корана обещал провести 58-летний американский пастор Терри Джонс - глава радикально настроенной евангелической общины во флоридском городке Гейнсвилл. Таким образом он хотел выразить протест в связи с планами построить мечеть рядом с местом, где ранее находились башни-близнецы Всемирного торгового центра, разрушенные в результате теракта 11 сентября 2001 года, а также почтить память жертв трагедии.
Международное сообщество единодушно осудило намерение Джонса. Госдепартамент выпустил в четверг специальное предупреждение о возможных антиамериканских акциях в разных странах, а Интерпол предупредил, что ответом на акцию могут стать террористические акты.
В ночь на пятницу мировые информагентства сообщили, что Джонс согласился отменить акцию. Однако вскоре пастор заявил, что акция лишь откладывается, но все равно состоится. В то же время позднее он снова заявил, что "не будет сжигать Коран прямо сейчас", в надежде, что мусульманский имам, который вел с Джонсом переговоры, сдержит обещание о намеченной на завтра их встрече в Нью-Йорке. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Два священника сожгли Коран. Демонстрации в мусульманских странах
В воскресенье в Афганистане прошли новые акции протеста против сожжения Корана в США. Как известно, пастор Терри Джонс предложил почтить память погибших в терактах 11 сентября 2001 года и сжечь священную книгу мусульман. Затем Джонс заявил, что отказался от намерения, но другие люди подхватили его идею.
К Джонсу обратились многие высокопоставленные политики, включая министра обороны Роберта Гейтса, с требованием пересмотреть свои планы, и пастор передумал устраивать День сожжения Корана, сказав, что не будет делать этого ни 11 сентября, ни в какой-либо другой день.
Однако священники Боб Олд и Денни Аллен из Нэшвилла (штат Теннеси) осуществили задуманное Джонсом. На заднем дворе дома Олда они разложили костер из нескольких экземпляров Корана. Священники подчеркнули, что их действия направлены в защиту конституции США, сообщает WSMV-TV. По некоторым данным, в Нью-Йорке тоже имели место надругательства над Кораном.
Как и следовало ожидать, в мусульманском мире начались акции протеста. Так, в Афганистане демонстрации под лозунгами "Смерть Америке!" и "Смерть христианам!" продолжаются уже третий день подряд и сопровождаются столкновениями с силами безопасности. Сегодня в очередной стычке погибли два демонстранта.
Демонстрации протеста прошли также в Пакистане, Индии и Индонезии. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTAQ) - Even though Florida evangelical pastor Terry Jones did not burn qurans as planned, across the country there were a couple of events where pages were set ablaze.
WSMV-TV in Nashville reports two local religious leaders held a private quran burning on the 9th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
Reverends Bob Old and Danny Allen both claimed different reasons for burning the Muslim holy book, but said it had nothing to do with the planned building of a Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.
"It's about faith, it's about love, but you have to have the right book behind you. This is a book of hate, not a book of love," said Old while holding up a Quran.
The two men said they burned the books to defend the United States Constitution and the American people. It's a move that has been denounced by Christian groups, politicians and even some of their family members.
Speaking of the Ground Zero Mosque, one man ripped pages from a quran outside the site Saturday, according to the New York Daily News.
"If they can burn American flags, I can burn the Koran," the unidentified man shouted. "[Americans] should never be afraid to give their opinion."
Those on both sides of the argument over the Mosque rejected the actions of the quran burner, who was escorted away but not arrested. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова