Petraeus: Burning Koran endangers troops.

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warned Tuesday…

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warned Tuesday a Florida church’s threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book the Koran could endanger U.S. troops in the country and Americans worldwide.

“Images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” Gen. David Petraeus said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

His comments followed a protest Monday by hundreds of Afghans over the plans by Gainesville, Fla.-based Dove World Outreach Center — a small evangelical Christian church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy — to burn copies of the Koran on church grounds to mark the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. that provoked the Afghan war.

Muslims consider the Koran to be the word of God and insist it be treated with the utmost respect, along with any printed material containing its verses or the name of Allah or the Prophet Muhammad. Any intentional damage or show of disrespect to the Koran is deeply offensive.

In 2005, 15 people died and scores were wounded in riots in Afghanistan sparked by a story in Newsweek magazine alleging interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay placed copies of the Koran in washrooms and flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. Newsweek later retracted the story.

At Monday’s protest, several hundred Afghans rallied outside a Kabul mosque, burning American flags and an effigy of Dove World’s pastor and chanting “death to America.” Members of the crowd briefly pelted a passing U.S. military convoy with stones, but were ordered to stop by rally organizers.

Two days earlier, thousands of Indonesian Muslims rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and in five other cities to protest the church’s plans.

Petraeus warned images of burning Korans could be used to incite anti-American sentiment similar to the pictures of prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Graib prison.

“I am very concerned by the potential repercussions of the possible (Koran) burning. Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday,” Petraeus said in his message. “Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in

Source: Kimberly Dozier for The Associated Press.

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  • This entire Koran burning thing is really difficult. Muslims want us to be tolerant. Yet I can’t name a less tolerant people. I do not know if I agree with the Florida preacher but he does have balls. He’s also very likely to end up dead. May be that is what he wants. Either way it will be cool to see how it turns out.