Petraeus: proposed Sept. 11 Koran-burning would endanger U.S. troops
KABUL (WJC)–General David Petraeus, the US commander in Afghanistan, has warned that soldiers’ lives will be endangered if a Florida evangelical church goes ahead with a planned burning of the Koran – Islam’s holy book – on Saturday, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Petraeus said the planned torching of the Koran would be a propaganda coup for the Taliban in Afghanistan and stoke anti-US sentiment across the Muslim world. Petraeus leads a 150,000-strong NATO force against an extremist Taliban-led insurgency.
Afghanistan is an Islamic country, and actions seen by Afghans as against their religion or even allegations that Western troops have insulted the Koran have led to deadly violence in the past. In January, seven tribesmen were killed by gunfire from security forces trying to disperse angry crowds during a demonstration sparked by allegations that US troops had torched the Muslim holy book.
The Dove World Outreach Center at Gainesville, Florida, announced it would burn copies of the Koran on this weekend’s ninth anniversary of the September 2001 attacks in protest at what it calls “the evil of Islam”. Petraeus condemned the plan, telling the ‘Wall Street Journal’: “It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort. It 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.”
The planned protest by the 50-member Florida congregation, whose Facebook page bears the motto ‘Islam Is Of The Devil’, has already triggered outrage in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress