|"Pastor" Terry Jones: nydailynews.com|
KABUL - Gen. David H. Petraeus on Tuesday denounced plans by a Florida church to burn copies of the Koran this weekend, saying the demonstration could "endanger troops" and damage the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.
"It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems," Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement. "Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
The White House also condemned the Florida church's plan, with press secretary Robert Gibbs reiterating Petraeus's contention that U.S. forces could be put in harm's way as a result. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the proposed demonstration "un-American" and said it was "inconsistent with the values of religious tolerance and religious freedom."
Habibullah, a religious leader who organized a protest Monday morning in eastern Kabul to decry the Florida church's plan, said throngs of angry men chanted, "Death to America!" and "Death to Obama!"
He said some of the protesters pelted a passing U.S. military convoy with stones.
"I stopped them," said Habibullah, who uses one name. "Otherwise they would have burned the convoy."
The Dove World Outreach Center, a 50-member evangelical Christian church in Gainesville, Fla., announced plans to burn the Islamic holy books on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. At the Kabul protest, residents burned an effigy of Dove World pastor Terry Jones.
(Click here to read the full story on the Washington Post website.)