[UPDATE] Fla. Pastor Leads Small Anti-Mosque Protest in NYC

By: AP
By: AP

[UPDATE] New York (AP) -- (1:48PM 11-16) --

The Florida pastor who backed down from a threat to burn the Quran on Sept. 11 has led a few dozen protesters to the site of a proposed mosque near ground zero.

Terry Jones expressed sympathy on Tuesday, November 16 for 9/11 victims' families. But he also spoke out against the radical Islam he said
was the cause of their deaths.

Jones says he doesn't know whether those planning the mosque and
Islamic cultural center are radicals.

He says he hopes they choose not to build the mosque there, just
as he decided not to burn the Islamic holy book.

The Gainesville, Fla., pastor says he has nothing against
peaceful Muslims.

Some of Jones' supporters identified themselves as Coptic
Christians from Egypt, saying they had fled persecution because of
their religion.

______________________________________

[UPDATE] Washington (AP) -- (7:33AM 9/9) --

President Barack Obama is exhorting a Florida minister to "listen to those better angels" and call off his plan to engage in a Quran-burning protest this weekend.

Obama tells ABC's "Good Morning America" he hopes the Rev.
Terry Jones listens to the pleas of people who have asked him to
call off the plan. The president called it a "stunt."

Obama also said in the interview broadcast on the morning of September 9 that what Jones proposes "is completely contrary to our values as Americans. This country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance."

Obama declared: "This is a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida."

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[UPDATE] Washington (AP) -- (10:59AM) --

Washington (AP) --

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says plans by a small church in Florida to burn the Muslim holy book are "outrageous," and "abberational" and do not represent America.

In remarks made on September 8 to the Council on Foreign Relations,
Clinton said it was "regrettable" that the tiny congregation had
gotten so much attention for what she called a "distrustful and
disgraceful" means of marking the ninth anniversary of the Sept.
11. 2001, terrorist attacks.

She urged Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center
to cancel Saturday's planned Quran burning. Jones has vowed to go
ahead with the event despite pleas from senior Obama administration
officials, including Clinton, that it will put Americans abroad at
risk.

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[UPDATE] Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) -- (10:48AM) --

A military spokesman says General David Petraeus and President
Hamid Karzai agreed that the burning would undermine the NATO
effort in Afghanistan, and endanger coalition troops and civilians.

The spokesman says they also noted that it would cause problems
for Afghanistan, because Afghan police and soldiers "would have to
deal with any large demonstrations."

Yesterday, Petraeus warned in an e-mail to The Associated Press
that the burning would be used by extremists in Afghanistan and
elsewhere 'to inflame public opinion and incite violence."

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[UPDATE] Vatican City (AP) -- (8:22AM) --

The Vatican has denounced as "outrageous and grave" plans by an American Christian minister to burn copies of the Quran to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary.

The Vatican office responsible for relations with Islam issued a
stern statement on September 8 saying that every religion has the right
to respect and protect its sacred books, places of worship and
symbols.

While deploring the terror attacks, the Pontifical Council for
Interreligious Dialogue said they "cannot be counteracted by an
outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a
religious community."

Pastor Terry Jones of the small, evangelical Dove World Outreach
Center has said he would go ahead with plans to burn copies of
Islam's holy book this weekend, September 11, despite opposition.

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[UPDATE] Washington (AP) -- (3:15PM) --

The White House says an American church's threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book could endanger U.S. troops serving overseas, and the State Department denounced the plan as "un-American."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says that type of activity
gets transmitted back to places like Afghanistan, where U.S. forces
could be put in harm's way.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called a Florida
church's threat to burn copies of the Quran to mark the Sept. 11
attacks "un-American" and said the plan was "inconsistent with
the values of religious tolerance and religious freedom."

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[UPDATE] Gainesville, Florida (AP) -- (10:22AM) --

The senior pastor of a Florida church says the concerns being raised by the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan are legitimate.

But while acknowledging those concerns, the senior pastor of the
Dove World Outreach Center -- a small, evangelical Christian church
-- is still defending the plans to burn the Quran.

Terry Jones, in a statement released by the church, says, "it
is time for America to quit apologizing for our actions and bowing
to kings." He says there needs to be a message to "the radical
element of Islam" that "we will no longer be controlled and
dominated by their fears and threats."

[UPDATE] Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) -- (9:46AM) --

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan is warning against an American church's plan to burn the Muslim holy book.

Gen. David Petreus says burning the Quran could endanger U.S.
troops in Afghanistan and Americans worldwide.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Petraeus says "images of
the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in
Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and
incite violence."

The general's comments follow a protest on Monday, September 6 by hundreds of Afghans over the plans by the Dove World Outreach Center to burn Qurans on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11.

Dove World Outreach Center is an evangelical Christian church
based in Florida that espouses anti-Islam philosophy. It has been
denied a permit to set a bonfire but has vowed to proceed with the
burning.

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Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) --

It should come as no surprise that Afghans are angry with a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

As many as 500 Afghans rallied in Kabul on September 6 denouncing plans by the Dove World Outreach Center to burn the Islamic holy book.
The protesters chanted "Long live Islam" and "Death to America"
and listened to fiery speeches.

Some threw rocks at a passing U.S. military convoy, but the
speakers shouted at them to stop and told police to arrest anyone
who disobeyed.

The Gainesville, Fla. church has been denied a permit for the
bonfire, but vows to go ahead with it.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a statement condemning the
church's plans.


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