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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid