AP / Huffington Post First Posted: 09- 6-10 05:22 PM | Updated: 09- 6-10 06:18 PM
General David Petraeus has condemned a Florida church’s plans to burn Qurans this week, warning that the scene “could endanger troops” in Afghanistan.
Petraeus told The Wall Street Journal Monday that Pastor Terry Jones’ September 11 stunt could ignite violence from Taliban forces already versed in harnessing American headlines as propaganda:
“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, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”
Hundreds of Afghans railed against the United States Monday and called for President Barack Obama’s death during protests about Dove World Outreach Center’s plans to burn the Islamic holy book on Sept. 11.
The crowd in Kabul, numbering as many as 500, chanted “Long live Islam” and “Death to America” as they listened to fiery speeches from members of parliament, provincial council deputies, and Islamic clerics who criticized the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. Some threw rocks when a U.S. military convoy passed, but speakers shouted at them to stop and told police to arrest anyone who disobeyed.
The Journal reports that military leaders are worried that protests will spread beyond Kabul.
The Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center announced plans to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but has been denied a permit to set a bonfire. The church, which made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil,” has vowed to proceed with the burning.
“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.