Friday, Sep. 10, 2010

Burning the Koran

After days of condemnations and protests, Terry Jones, the pastor of a church based in Gainesville, Fla., that had planned to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, called off the event. The announcement was a surprising concession from the pastor, who had previously held firm to his plans to torch the sacred texts, despite the stern warnings of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the top commander in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, that the burning of Islam's holy book could endanger U.S. troops and Americans abroad.

The proposed event had stoked the fires of Muslim outrage, drawing hundreds to the streets of Pakistan and Afghanistan in protest — the American flag was burned at a handful of the rallies — and prompted condemnation from at least 11 countries. The fervor provoked by the Dove World Outreach Center, a church that has just 50 members, caused American embassies and consulates overseas to review security policies and brace for the worst. For his part, Jones said that while he had agreed to cancel the event, his goal had still been accomplished. "We have at this time no regrets," he said at a press conference. "We are very happy with the outcome."