On September 11, 2010, the extremist evangelical Dove World Church — whose pastor, Terry Jones, has written a book called “Islam Is Of The Devil” — plans to host “International Burn a Quran Day,” when it will burn Islam’s sacred text and encourage others across the world to do so as well. Church member Wayne Sapp has even posted an instructional video that explains how and why to burn the Quran.
But today the Wall Street Journal reports that Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said the planned burning of Qurans “could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort”:
Petraeus said the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort,” Gen. Petraeus said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here [in Afghanistan], but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”
Confirming Petraeus’ fears, “hundreds of Afghans railed against the United States and called for President Barack Obama’s death at a rally in the capital Monday to denounce an American church’s plans to burn the Islamic holy book on Sept. 11.” The U.S. Embassy in Kabul even issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups.” Nevertheless, some Afghans are still placing blame for the Quran burning day on Obama:
“We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States,” said Abdul Shakoor, an 18-year-old high school student who said he joined the protest after hearing neighborhood gossip about the Quran burning.