Planned Koran Burning Drew International Scorn
By JACK HEALY and STEVEN ERLANGER, New York Times, September 9, 2010
Before a Florida pastor canceled his plans to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11, the international outcry intensified Thursday, drawing vocal condemnations from world leaders and touching off angry protests in corners of the Muslim world.
Although some protests in Afghanistan and Pakistan rippled with scenes of burning American flags, the outrage in the streets seemed largely isolated. Officials in Muslim countries urged restraint, seeking to head off any violent reactions if the Florida church went ahead with its plans to set fire to several copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks this Saturday.
President Obama joined a litany of high-ranking American officials to condemn the Koran burning, saying that the act, amplified by a global media, would put American troops at risk and fan anger against the United States. Mr. Obama called the planned event “a destructive act” and said it would be a “recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda.”
American embassies and consulates were reviewing their security policies, and several diplomatic missions in the Muslim world posted statements prominently on their Web sites condemning the planned event. The State Department issued a travel alert on Thursday saying the burning could catalyze violent anti-American demonstrations.
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