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Pastor Terry Jones brushes off worldwide condemnation of his Koran burning plan

Worldwide condemnation poured in Wednesday for Gainesville Pastor Terry Jones and his plans to burn the Muslim holy book on Saturday to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the plan was ill-advised and echoed concerns first raised by the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, who warned that the proposed weekend event by at the Dove World Outreach Center north of Gainesville would place the lives of American troops in jeopardy there and elsewhere.

Underscoring the administration's concern about the potential impact of the Koran burning, the State Department ordered U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to assess their security and warn Americans if they believe anti-American protests may occur.

In Iraq, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd Austin, joined in the condemnation, calling the plan "disrespectful, divisive and disgraceful."

The Vatican and the Anti-Defamation League blasted Jones' plans, too, with the Vatican calling the plan "outrageous and grave."

Sarah Palin added her voice to those calling for Jones to cancel the event. She posted on her Facebook page, "Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation.''

Finally, Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, met Wednesday with Jones and said he was hopeful that he would call off his incendiary plans.

"I think the man wants to do the right thing," Musri said after the meeting. "He's anti-terrorist, as we are all."

Despite the worldwide pressure, Jones is undeterred.

"Our burning of the Koran is to call the attention that something is wrong," Jones said Wednesday at a brief news conference. "It is possibly time for us in a new way to stand up and confront terrorism. … As of this time, we have no intention of canceling."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

A visit to the church

Times staffers John Barry and John Pendygraft visited Pastor Jones and his church this week.

Pastor Terry Jones brushes off worldwide condemnation of his Koran burning plan 09/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 9:46am]
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