A small US church says it will defy international condemnation and go ahead with plans to burn copies of
the Koran on the 9/11 anniversary.
The top US commander in Afghanistan warned troops' lives would be in danger if the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida went ahead.
Gen David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said on Monday that the action could cause problems not just in Kabul, but everywhere in the world . It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the church's plan was disrespectful and disgraceful .
Muslim countries and Nato have also hit out at the move.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday that any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern .
Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen blasted the plans, telling reporters that burning Korans violated the Nato alliance's values .
And the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, called the idea idiotic and dangerous .
But organiser, Pastor Terry Jones said: We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam.
Dr Jones - author of a book entitled Islam is of the Devil - has said he understands the general's concerns but that it was time for America to quit apologizing for our actions and bowing to kings .
News of the bonfire has also sparked protests in Afghanistan and Indonesia. In Kabul on Monday, about 500 protesters chanted long live Islam and death to America as they set fire to an effigy of Jones. Thousands of mostly Muslim
demonstrators rallied around Indonesia at the weekend.
The role of Islam in America has become a hot button issue with social and political implications. While most Americans would probably take issue with exhortations to burn the Koran, there is clearly widespread concern about the influence of Islam.
Update: Website Censored
10th September 2010. Based on
The website of the church that was planning to burn a Koran on Saturday to commemorate 9/11 was removed from the internet after its
hosting service claimed the site violated its terms of service agreement.
The removal of the doveworld.org site comes as President Barack Obama urged the Florida pastor not to burn the Koran on the 9-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow
themselves up in American cities or European cities, Obama said.
Rackspace, of San Antonio Texas and the web hosting service in question, pulled the plug on the Dove World Outreach Center's site at midnight over what it said was a terms of service breach. Its terms of service agreement prohibits using Rackpace servers
if such usage incites violence, threatens violence, or contains harassing content or hate speech.
Dan Goodgame, a Rackspace spokesman, said that the company reserved the right to stop hosting Jones' hate speech as of Thursday morning. He said Rackspace was protecting its right not to associate and do business with Jones under the company's
terms of service contract.
Jones said Rackspace's decision was an indirect attack on our freedom of speech.
Update: Dove of Peace Restored
10th September 2010. Based on
The fundamentalist pastor who promised to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by
burning hundreds of copies of the Koran has pulled the plug on his stunt, in the face of blanket condemnation from world leaders and a warning from Interpol that Christians around the world were at risk of violent revenge attacks.
As anger mounted against the obscure Florida church, called the Dove World Outreach Centre, Pastor Terry Jones said he was changing his plan, following a meeting with local Muslim leaders.
Earlier, Barack Obama and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, had led a chorus of condemnation at the proposed book-burning which only intensified through the day, amid claims that it had already prompted killings in Iraq.
In the news conference announcing his decision, the pastor claimed that he decided to cancel his protest in exchange for a deal to move a planned Islamic centre and mosque away from New York's Ground Zero. The imam planning the centre, however, quickly
denied any such deal.
The cancellation came as reports emerged from Baghdad of an apparent revenge attack on Iraq's only operating Anglican church, St George's. According to two eyewitnesses, up to four people were killed after gunmen opened fire on guards outside the church,
which lies in a compound just outside the comparative safety of the Green Zone.
Update: Bored of the Westboro Baptists even when they burn a Koran
12th September 2010. Based on
The burning of a Quran and an American flag Saturday by members of Westboro Baptist Church drew little visible interest.
Instead of the hoards of media representatives that descended on Florida, only a handful of area reporters turned out at noon for Westboro's burning.
I'm glad it didn't get a lot of publicity and it didn't draw a lot of people to the church, said Imam Omar Hazim, of the Islamic Center of Topeka: It seemed people in Topeka ignored what they were doing. Members of Topeka's Islamic
community were absent from the event. Hazim said that was by design.
Mayor Bill Bunten, who was at home watching The University of Kansas football game during the burning, said national attention on Westboro Baptist is waning.
The fool in Florida one-upped them, Bunten said, referring to the Rev. Terry Jones, of the Dove Outreach Center church in Gainesville, Florida: They were apparently tagging along on his idea, so the fellow in Florida had stolen the stage, so to
Update: A few pages ripped assunder
12th September 2010. Based on
A small Christian group tore a few pages from a Koran in a protest outside the White House on Saturday to denounce what they called the charade of Islam
as they marked the anniversary of 9/11.
Part of why we're doing that, please hear me: the charade that Islam is a peaceful religion must end, said Randall Terry, one of the six members in the group.
Another activist, Andrew Beacham, read out a few Koran passages calling for hatred towards Christians and Jews, and then ripped those pages from an English paperback edition of the Islamic holy book.
He carefully put the torn pieces into a plastic bag, in order not to litter, and said: The only reason I will not burn it at the White House is because to burn anything on the Capitol grounds is a felony.
Update: A couple of burned Korans
13th September 2010. From
A national Islamic group has called for an FBI investigation after a burned Quran, pages allegedly covered in feces, was found
Saturday at an East Lansing mosque frequented by the Michigan State University community.
To have the Quran burned at a mosque is equivalent to having a cross burned at a black church, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, referring to an intimidation tactic
frequently used during the civil rights movement by those opposed. He has asked the FBI to consider the burning a hate crime.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, the Rev. Bob Old vowed to stick with his plan to burn the Quran. On Saturday, despite the national tempest and opposition from conservative Christian leaders including Middle Tennessee pastors, Old carried out his plan. But for
all the controversy and hype, his Quran burning took place in front of just a handful of people, most of them from the media.
Old and the Rev. Danny Allen stood together in Old's backyard, answering what they say was a message from God. The pair soaked two copies of the Quran and one other Islamic text with lighter fluid, ignited them and watched the books disintegrate into
ashes. This is a book of hate, not a book of love, Old said, holding the Quran, before setting it afire. It's a false book, it's a false prophet (Muhammad) and it's false Scripture.
Three protesters stood across the street from Old's home, holding signs that read My husband fights terrorism and your actions perpetuate it and Proud of my country but ashamed of my neighbors.
Update: Violence in Afghanistan
13th September 2010. Based on
Two protesters were killed and several more injured as for a third straight day violent demonstrations swept Afghanistan in response to
the threats made by a US church to burn copies of the Koran.
Chanting Death to America and Death to Christians , about 500 demonstrators clashed with Afghan security forces in Logar province, south of Kabul, pelting them with stones until the soldiers opened fire, killing two and wounding five
others. Few protesters were aware that the Koran burning by the pastor of a small church in Florida had been called off, and some warned of more violence to come.
The [district] governor must give us an assurance that the church is not going to burn the Koran, otherwise we will attack foreign troop bases in our thousands, Mohammad Yahya, one of the protesters, said. For his part, the governor, Mohammad Amin
Rahim, said he had tried to convince demonstrators that the burning would not go ahead but the demonstrators were not convinced and attacked us .
Update: Roll Up, Roll Up, for Easy Offence
15th September 2010. Based on
An Australian lawyer has contributed to the US pastor's plan to burn the Koran by allegedly smoking holy books and posting the
videos on YouTube.
Brisbane-based lawyer Alex Stewart is seen smoking what appear to be joints made up of pages from the Koran and the Bible filled with (lawn) grass.
He was shown lighting up his religious joints under the YouTube title: Bible or Koran - Which Burns Best?
He gave the Bible a seven out of 10 for its burning qualities, and said it was better than the Koran which left him feeling sick. Stewart says burning religious books is no big deal and that people need to get over it .
But since his video attracted approbation from around the world, Stewart - who appeared in the video wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words I'm an atheist, Thank God - has gone into hiding.
The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ikebal Patel, said: I think it's highly offensive that he has done this to two of the holiest books in the world. It does not in any way add value to trying to promote world peace and the
consideration of different views, especially when there are heightened tensions around the anniversary of September 11 and the Eid el Fitr (end of Ramadan) celebrations.
Sheik Muhammad Wahid, president of the Islamic Association of Australia, said: We condemn the video and our feelings have been hurt by this man's actions.
Stewart told Queensland's Courier Mail newspaper before he fled from his Brisbane home that the video was a joke and he does not do drugs. He insisted that the green substance he showed in a plastic bag before rolling it up in the torn-out pages was
actually grass clippings.
The video has been censored and removed from YouTube.
Update: Another burnt Koran
15th September 2010. Based on
Chicago police are investigating the discovery of a burnt copy of the Quran found outside the Muslim Community Center on the Northwest Side to determine if the book was damaged in a hate crime.
Update: 18 Protestors shot by police
16th September 2010. Based on
The long-troubled state of Kashmir suffered one of its bloodiest days when at least 18 people were killed and more than a hundred injured as
security forces opened fire on protesters in confrontations across the valley.
As politicians in Delhi debated whether to ease a bitterly controversial law that provides effective immunity to troops, Indian forces again responded to widespread demonstrations with deadly force. Related articles
The protests, which saw tens of thousands of people ignore a curfew and take to the streets, were at least partly in anger over reports that copies of the Koran had been burnt in the US. A police officer also lost his life.
Update: The Bill
22nd September 2010. Based on
The maverick preacher who sparked an international crisis over plans to burn the Koran has been hit with
a £100,000 bill to cover the cost of police security for the stunt.
More than 200 police, including members of a SWAT team, were on duty outside the church in Florida where Jones planned his mass burning of the Holy Book.
The huge security operation was put into place even though Jones called off the burning protest that had been condemned by President Obama and the Vatican.
City officials in Gainesville said they planned to send Jones the security bill.
But Jones has said he will not pay the police bill.
Update: Vengeful Pakistan
24th September 2010. Based on
A Pentecostal church in Karachi has been attacked and vandalized by militants still angry over a threat to burn Qur'ans in the United
States earlier this month.
Nine copies of the Bible, three hymn books and three wooden crosses were found burnt on Sept. 18 at the Nasri Pentecostal Church in Shah Latif Town, Karachi.