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World attention focuses on Florida church's plans

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.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, hundreds of protesters — at least one group of them organized by a local politician — took to the streets to decry the church's plans.

Some carried signs declaring, "Obama: Stop Florida Church." Others set fire to American flags and effigies of Jones.

Officials in Muslim countries urged restraint, seeking to head off any violent reactions if the church went ahead with its plans to set fire to several copies of the Koran.

President Barack Obama joined a litany of high-ranking American officials to condemn the Koran burning.

In 2005, violent protests erupted in Afghanistan and Pakistan after Newsweek published a report — one it later retracted — saying that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a Koran down the toilet. At least 17 deaths were blamed on the riots.

World attention focuses on Florida church's plans 09/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:58pm]
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