Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, is drawing international outrage over his plan to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, September 11. General David Pertraeus (left), top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said that Jones's plans could endanger the troops:
Gen. David Petraeus said the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview. "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 attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the plans of Florida pastor Terry Jones, who has said he will burn copies of Islam's holy book to mark the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Afghan protesters chanted "death to America," and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its troops. Some protesters threw rocks at a passing military convoy.
Military officials fear the protests will likely spread to other Afghan cities, especially if the event is broadcast or ends up on Internet video.
Petraeus's observation that the Taliban will use the burning for propaganda brings to mind Newsweek's report that opposition to the Islamic center near ground zero is also helping the militant group to recruit for jihad.
Speaking of those who are stirring up nationwide anti-Islamic sentiment, Joe Sudbay of Americablog asks a pointed question in regard to Jones's plans: "Where's the outrage from Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and all the other conservative frauds who purport to support the troops?"