IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT ‘MUSLIM SENSITIVITIES’…BUT IT’S FINE FOR THEM TO CONFISCATE AND BURN BIBLES IN SAUDI ARABIA, NOT TO MENTION ARRESTING THOSE WHO HAVE THEM..HOW ABOUT KILLING MUSLIM APOSTATES WHO COVERT TO CHRISTIANITY? OOOOH, MUSTN’T MENTION THAT EITHER..
Planned burning of Qur’an will ‘endanger troops’: Petraeus
A group of Indonesian demonstrators belonging to the Hizbut Tahrir, an Islamists organization, rally outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta on September 4, 2010. The group threatened “jihad” or holy war if a U.S. Christian group goes through with threats to publicly burn the Qur’an.
Photograph by: Aldo Utama/AFP/Getty Images, Aldo Utama/AFP/Getty Images
KABUL — The U.S. commander of the Afghan war warned on Tuesday that a decision by American evangelicals to burn the Qur’an on 9/11 would endanger his troops as the Muslim world reacted angrily to the plan.
General David Petraeus said the planned torching of Islam’s holy book by a Florida church would be a propaganda coup for the Taliban in Afghanistan and stoke anti-U.S. sentiment across the Muslim world.
Protests have already gone ahead in the capital Kabul and in Indonesia — the world’s largest Muslim-majority country — while Iran has warned that the burning could unleash an uncontrolled Muslim response.
The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, says it will burn copies of the Qur’an on this weekend’s ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in protest at what it calls “the evil of Islam.”
Afghanistan, where Gen. Petraeus leads a 150,000-strong U.S.-led NATO force against an extremist Taliban-led insurgency, is a deeply devout Islamic country where actions seen as against the religion have previously led to deadly violence.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” said Gen. Petraeus of the plan.
“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 general said in an emailed statement.
On Monday about 200 men gathered near a mosque in Kabul to protest against the planned torching, shouting “Death to America” and “Long live Islam” for about an hour after their midday prayers, witnesses said.
In January seven tribesmen were killed by gunfire from Afghan security forces trying to disperse angry crowds during a demonstration sparked by allegations that US troops had torched the Muslim holy book.
An investigation by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan authorities found that no Qur’an was desecrated following a military operation by the alliance force in the southern province of Helmand.
The planned protest by the 50-member Florida congregation — who have set up a Facebook page in support of the event bearing the motto “Islam Is Of The Devil” — triggered a warning from Iran’s foreign ministry.
“We advise Western countries to prevent the exploitation of freedom of expression to insult religious sanctities, otherwise the emotions of Muslim nations cannot be controlled,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.
In late August about 100 Indonesian Islamists demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta and threatened “jihad” or holy war if the US Christian group went through with the stunt.
On Tuesday Indonesian Christians said they feared violent reprisals if the burning went ahead.
Indonesian Protestant Christian Churches Union (PGI) has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to intervene to prevent the book burning, chairman Andreas Yewangoe told AFP.
“The Qur’an burning will harm world peace. We’re deeply concerned as it could create tension here in Indonesia,” he said.
The PGI represents about 20,000 churches and nine million followers in Indonesia.
Alleged desecration of the Qur’an by U.S. troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq has been an incendiary issue in the past, including when a U.S. soldier deployed to Iraq riddled a copy of the holy book with bullets in 2008.
A subsequent demonstration by about 2,000 people in central Afghanistan turned violent, with a Lithuanian soldier and two civilians killed in an exchange of gunfire between protesters and police.
Terry Jones, who heads the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, said he had given “serious” consideration to the concerns expressed by Petraeus, but said he would proceed anyway.
“We are taking the general’s words very serious. We are continuing to pray about the action on September 11th,” he said.
Nevertheless, he said “we have firmly made up our mind” to go ahead with burning the Muslim holy book.
“I mean, how long, when does America stand for truth?” he said.
“Instead of us being blamed for what other people will do or might do, why don’t we send a warning to them? Why don’t we send a warning to radical Islam and say, don’t do it. If you attack us, if you attack us, we will attack you,” he said.
Mr. Jones said however that the Qur’an torching on Saturday aimed “to remember those who were brutally murdered on September 11th,” and to send a warning “to the radical element of Islam.”
“We wanted to send a very clear message to them that we are not interested in their Sharia law. And we do not tolerate their threats, their fear, their radicalness. We live in the United States of America,” he said.