Fla. Minister Cancels Burning Of Qurans On 9/11

A US clergyman has cancelled plans to burn copies of the Koran on September 11 after securing a deal to move a planned mosque in New York away from Ground Zero.

Pastor Terry Jones had threatened to carry out the protest despite pressure from President Barack Obama and other political and religious leaders around the world.

But he backed down after an agreement had been reached with Muslim leaders to move the controversial location of a planned Islamic cultural centre and mosque at the 9/11 site.

Earlier, Mr Obama warned the protest was being used as an incentive for suicide bombers and he urged the minister to reconsider his decision.

"This is a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda," Mr Obama said in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America show.

"You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan," he went on.

The US State Department had issued a travel alert to American citizens traveling overseas, urging them to avoid areas where protests might occur.

"The potential for further protests and demonstrations, some of which may turn violent, remains high," the State Department said.The White House, the Vatican, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus, Interpol and world leaders had all urged the pastor to call off his protest.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was "offensive not just to Muslims but to all supporters of religious freedom and tolerance worldwide".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply disturbed".

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who founded his Faith Foundation after leaving office to promote understanding between the world's religions, said: "I deplore the act of burning the Koran.

"It is disrespectful, wrong and will be widely condemned by people of all faiths and none. In no way does this represent the view of any sensible person in the West or any other part of the world."

Mr Blair added: "Rather than burn the Koran, I would encourage people to read it."Pakistan had asked Interpol to intervene and the country's foreign office had described the plans as "shameful and against any religion".

In Edinburgh, around 100 Afghan nationals reportedly gathered outside the US consulate building in protest.

Mr Jones, who leads a tiny Christian church in Florida, had insisted he would go ahead with his "International Burn-a-Koran Day" despite receiving more than 100 death threats.Sky News had learned that radical Muslim groups around the world intended to burn American flags in protest at the pastor's plan.

Sky's home affairs correspondent Mark White said: "Anjem Choudary is the former head of Islam4UK which was proscribed - in other words outlawed - by the British government in January.

"He is now calling for the burning of the American flag outside US embassies at cities around the world in direct response to what Pastor Terry Jones is planning in Florida.

"He says he's spoken to leaders of other Islamic groups in Belgium and in Switzerland, Indonesia and elsewhere, who support him and plan to stage similar protests."

White said governments in the West "have always been concerned that what Pastor Jones was planning would be incendiary, quite literally".The pastor's supporters had been mailing copies of the book to put on the bonfire at his Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainsville.

Source : news.yahoo