Jones. Withdrawing threats
Photo: AP
Protests against Jones in Florida
Photo: AFP

US pastor cancels Koran burning

Florida Pastor Terry Jones announces on NBC's Today Show he is forgoing plan to burn copies of Koran, even if a mosque is built near ground zero. Meanwhile, protests against move resume in Afghanistan, Taliban calls on US to quit 'illegal occupation' of country

A Florida pastor says his church will never burn a Koran, even if a mosque is built near ground zero.


Pastor Terry Jones had threatened to burn the Muslim holy book on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks over plans to build an Islamic center near where militants brought down the World Trade Center nine years ago.


He flew to New York and appeared on NBC's "Today" show. He says that his church's goal was "to expose that there is an element of Islam that is very dangerous and very radical."


He tells NBC that "we have definitely accomplished that mission."


He says no meeting is planned with the imam leading the center but he hopes one will take place.

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


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, behind plans to build an Islamic center near ground zero, 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.


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."


Afghan protests resume

Protestors clashed with Afghan security forces on Saturday, as thousands of Afghans demonstrated for a second day, despite a US pastor suspending plans to burn copies of the Koran, officials said.


Four demonstrators were seriously wounded when Afghan security forces opened fire as thousands of protestors tried to storm several government buildings in Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province, south of Kabul, a provincial official said.


"The security forces did not want any trouble but were forced to open fire when the protestors tried to force their way into the buildings," said Din Mohammad Darwish, the provincial governor's spokesman.


Demonstrators also hurled stones at the buildings, including the department for women's affairs, causing some damage. Pul-e-Alam is located some 70km (40 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.


Taliban to US: End illegal occupation

The Taliban marked the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States on Saturday by calling on American forces to withdraw unconditionally and end the “illegal occupation” of Afghanistan.


In a statement that also coincided with the Eid holiday marking the end of Ramazan, the Taliban said the United States had no chance of bringing peace to Afghanistan after nearly nine years of war.


As Nato allies pulled out their troops, Americans had become targets both at home and abroad, said the statement, emailed to news organisations.


“Nine years after September 11, despite using all possible military solutions in Afghanistan, now they have lost any possible chance for peace,” the statement said of the United States.


“They are left with only one option and that is to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan without any preconditions.


“They do not have the right to impose conditions and preconditions for leaving Afghanistan because, first, their occupation of Afghanistan was illegal and also, second, they have been defeated in this illegal invasion,” it said.


The United States and Nato have 150,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting to quell the Taliban insurgency, which began soon after the Islamists' brutal five-year regime was toppled in a US-led invasion.



פרסום ראשון: 09.11.10, 15:38
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