News / USA

US Government Considering Contacting Pastor Planning Quran Burning

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Dan Goodgame, a spokesman of Rackspace

U.S. President Barack Obama has spoken out strongly against a Florida minister's plan to burn copies of the Quran, and White House officials say they may try to contact the pastor directly to get him to change his plans.

The Reverend Terry Jones has said repeatedly this week that he intends to burn Qurans on Saturday, September 11, as a protest against "radical Islam."  But on Thursday he added that he would re-examine his plan if he was contacted by officials at the White House, Pentagon or State Department.

President Obama said publicly burning the Quran is a destructive and dangerous act.  He also said the minister's plan is an attention-seeking "stunt" that could endanger U.S. troops, but also is a valid exercise of free-speech rights under the U.S. legal system.

Mr. Obama said the Florida protest could turn out to be "a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida" and trigger violent counter-protests.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Quran burnings could set back the U.S. government's efforts to demonstrate that it is not at war with Islam, but is at war with those who "perverted the values and beliefs of that religion."

VOA's Gary Thomas interviews with Dan Goodgame, the spokesman for Rackspace:

Gibbs and other senior officials said they are discussing how to respond to Jones' hint that he might suspend his book-burning plan, out of concern that the minister's tactics could "provoke other extremists" to threaten spectacular protests in order to get attention.

The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Thursday warning U.S. citizens of the potential for anti-U.S. demonstrations in other countries in response to the Quran burning plans.

Mr. Obama's warnings about possible threats to U.S. soldiers in places like Afghanistan have been echoed by the top military commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, and the head of the NATO alliance, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.  

Jones leads the Dove World Outreach Center, a church in Gainesville, Florida, that has about 50 members.  He has said he is aware his plan calls for desecration of Islam's holiest symbol, but that the action is intended to emphasize his opposition to "radical" Muslims.

The Internet service company that hosts the Dove center's websites (Rackspace) has terminated its contract with the church in response to the controversy, and the church's website is no longer accessible.  A spokesman said the church violated the company's policy forbidding hate speech.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Thursday it is launching an educational program called "Learn, Don't Burn" to counter the minister's plans to burn 200 Qurans by distributing 200,000 more copies of the holy book free.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki predicted that burning Qurans would be "a pretext" for extremists to carry out more killings.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the minister's plan is "disgraceful," and that is regrettable that such an obscure congregation can command so much attention worldwide.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More