Obama warns Koran burning will boost Al Qaeda
Washington, September 9, 2010
US President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that a Florida pastor's plan to burn copies of the Koran is being used as an Al Qaeda recruitment tool and he urged the pastor to reconsider the decision.
"This is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda," Obama said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" program.
"You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities."
Terry Jones, the leader of a tiny Protestant church in Gainesville, Florida, is planning to burn copies of the Islamic holy book on Saturday on the ninth anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
Jones has said he views the act as a way of confronting Islamist terrorism but his plans have been widely condemned by US religious, political and military leaders, who say the plan is causing an increased threat to US military personnel abroad.
"I just hope he understands that what he is proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans, that this country has been built on the notions of religious freedom and religious tolerance," Obama said of Jones on "Good Morning America."
"He says he's someone who is motivated by his faith ... I hope he listens to those better angels and understands that this is a destructive act that he's engaging in," Obama said.
The US leader said the situation was frustrating but that there appeared to be little that could be done under the law to confront the minister, other than citing him under local measures against public burning. - Reuters