Petraeus: ‘Burn a Koran Day’ endangers troops

The United States’ top commander in Afghanistan has warned that a planned Koran-burning event in Florida could put U.S. troops in danger.

Gen. David Petraeus added his voice to mounting protests from both the US and abroad over the Dove World Outreach Center’s plans to burn Korans on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. His comments ratcheted up the pressure on once-obscure pastor Terry Jones to call off the event.

The controversy comes as some 120,000 US and allied troops are waging a counter-insurgency campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, a campaign whose goals include winning support for the US-backed government from the largely Muslim population.

General Petraeus said that burning Korans “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,” according to CNN.

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

“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.”

Jones, the pastor of the center in Gainesville, Florida, has touted the activity as “International Burn the Koran Day.” Jones also authored a book titled “Islam is of the Devil,” which has a Facebook page and Twitter account.

In remarks published by Florida radio station WOKV on Tuesday morning, Jones insisted he would not be deterred.

“We think the message is that important,” said Pastor Terry Jones. “We can not back down just because of fear, because if we back down, it won’t make Islam any more moderate” said Jones.

On Monday, some 500 people gathered in Kabul to protest the Florida church’s plans, and to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/07/2010 - 10:44 am.

    Just as Muslims have the right to build a mosque at the sight of the worst attack against our country on our own soil since Pearl Harbor, these people have the right to burn Korans.

    But “they” shouldn’t.

  2. Submitted by Ray Aune on 09/07/2010 - 12:34 pm.

    One can only hope that the event is rained.. or hurricaned.. out. Alternatively, it might be good for us as a nation to step down from the moral high ground and admit that we’re as petty and vindictive as everybody else, fire off some nukes, and declare Pax Americana.

  3. Submitted by Roy Everson on 09/07/2010 - 01:08 pm.

    One church in one state out of 50 in a country with 300 million– sorry, but it is the protestors who are overreacting. To do anything but ignore this is to treat the protestors with way too much deference. People who get upset with this have very little confidence in their own religion, much as many Christians seem to have little confidence in their beliefs when they are dissed.

    Get a life, religionists, have a backbone, fer Christ’s sake.

  4. Submitted by Jim Roth on 09/07/2010 - 01:19 pm.

    Mr. Swift, as usual you cut with a blunt object. All Muslims were not responsible for the 911 attacks, only a handful of extremists. The Koran is subject to a variety of interpretations just like the Bible. Perhaps if the proponents of the Community Center in New York were proposing to burn Bibles you might have a point, but so far that’s one accusation we haven’t heard from those who like to make things up and use false analogies. Burning the Koran is an insult to all who hold religious beliefs sacred, not only Muslims.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/07/2010 - 04:54 pm.

    Well Jim, as your own comment proves, given enough difference of opinions, ideologies, backgrounds and motivations, anything can be justified.

    Common sense tells me that both of these groups are driven by hatred and mistrust; you think the Muslims are on firm footing at ground zero and Terry Jones et. al. think they’re doing everyone a favor.

  6. Submitted by Gregory Lang on 09/07/2010 - 05:20 pm.

    You might recall “artist-photographer” Robert Athey getting National Endowments of the Arts government funding for the “art” of a crucifix in a jar of urine.

    I recall what we would now call “liberal-progressive-democrats” getting all worked up claiming that democracy and free speech would end if this “artistic expression” was not subsidized with tax dollars.

    But of course crucifix is a Christian religious icon.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/07/2010 - 08:34 pm.

    Muslims around the world will be fed video of the burning, no doubt inspiring more to join the jihad. Good work, Rev. You’re living evidence of all that is wrong with religion and those who claim to hear the word of God.

  8. Submitted by Gregory Lang on 09/07/2010 - 11:14 pm.

    A clarification: The original National Endowment for the Arts controversy which occurred in the early 1990’s usually cited Maplethorpe and Athey but the crucifix in a jar or urine was Andres Serrano

    The big controversy at the time was not the right to do it but instead the NEA government money used for exhibitions. First BBS’s and internet newsgroups followed by the early World Wide Web made this one of the first online debates with direct public input.

    I in no way support this Koran burning but the irony is obvious.

  9. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/08/2010 - 12:56 pm.

    “Common sense tells me that both these groups are driven by hatred and mistrust….”

    Thomas: There are over a billion Muslims in the world. Of that number, a few thousand could probably be called “terrorists” or “extremists,” and of that number 19 flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11.

    Similarly, there are hundreds of millions of Christians in the United States. Of however many millions there are, only 50 are choosing to burn Korans on the advice of a pastor who irrationally thinks 9/11 means ALL Muslims are extremists.

    Do these 50 mixed-up Christians speak for either all of Christianity or all America? Obviously not. And neither did the 19 speak for all Muslims.

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