'Path to collapse.' Ahmadinejad
Photo: AFP
Gone mad? Jones
Photo: AP

Ahmadinejad: Koran burning Zionist plot

NYC imam behind pans to build Islamic center near ground zero ignores ultimatum, says has no plans to meet pastor threatening to burn holy Islamic books on anniversary of 9/11 attacks. Iranian president says, 'Such desperate actions will not save Zionists'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Florida Pastor Terry Jones' plans to torch Korans on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was a "Zionist plot, and against the teachings of all divine prophets," Iran's Press TV reported Friday.


"The Zionists and their supporters are on the path to collapse and decline and such desperate actions will not save them, but will accelerate their fall and annihilation," the Iranian president said during a meeting between Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian officials in Tehran.


The pastor at the center of the Koran-burning dispute said the imam behind plans to build an Islamic center near ground zero in New York City has ignored his deadline to get in touch, Sky News reported Friday.


On Thursday the pastor, Terry Jones, announced he would cancel plans to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.


Jones said he had abandoned his plans because he had an agreement to move the Islamic center away from its planned site. However, representatives of the center denied there were any relocation plans.


Jones told reporters on Friday "I have a challenge" for the imam, saying he had set a 3:20 EST deadline for the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to respond. Jones wouldn't say what he would do if the deadline wasn't met.


Jones and his colleague Pastor K A Paul had given the imam two hours to call them on one of two telephone numbers read out live on television.


Sky News said K A Paul, a controversial Christian preacher, told reporters the message to imam Rauf was "crystal clear".


"There is a confusion going on. We want to clear that confusion," he was quoted as saying by the British news network.


'Threats of God's punishment'

Paul then gave out his own telephone number and that of another pastor and urged Imam Rauf to get in touch, either directly or through the media, according to the report.


Paul told the press conference it was legally acceptable for an Islamic center to be built near the site of the 2001 attacks in 2001 that destroyed the twin towers, but not morally acceptable.


The deadline passed without "any word from the imam or his team".


Pastor Jones' estranged daughter Emma called her father's church – the nondenominational Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida - a cult that forced obedience through "mental violence" and threats of God's punishment. She said he ignored her emails urging him not to burn Korans.


"I think he has gone mad," she told Germany's Spiegel Online.


US President Barack Obama seemed unwilling to bolster Jones' sudden fame when he referred to him in a news conference on Friday as "the individual down in Florida" without mentioning his name.


But Obama said Koran-burning could badly damage the United States abroad and endanger the lives of Americans.


Imam Abdul Rauf said Friday he has no immediate plans to meet with Jones.


"I am prepared to consider meeting with anyone who is seriously committed to pursuing peace," he said in a prepared statement. "We have no such meeting planned at this time. Our plans for the community center have not changed. With the solemn day of September 11 upon us, I encourage everyone to take time for prayer and reflection."


AP, Reuters contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 09.11.10, 00:13
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