Just days after the top military commander in Afghanistan warned that a Gainesville hate group’s plan to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11 by burning the Quran would undoubtedly serve to further complicate the U.S. mission in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder offered their own words of condemnation for the event. Clinton’s statement came Tuesday after attending an iftar meal, which breaks the daily fast of Ramadan, to celebrate the Muslim holy month.
“I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths … as well as secular U.S. leaders and opinion makers,” she told CNN.
Eric Holder, who’s views were spoken behind closed doors and conveyed to MSNBC by an official inside the Justice Department, is reported to have called the event “idiotic and dangerous.”
A number of high-profile protests have already taken place in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia, sparking the initial warning by Petraeus that such an act would undermine efforts in the region.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” he said. “Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult.”
“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,” Petraeus said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Terry Jones, the leader of Gainesville’s Dove World Outreach Center, has made no apologies in any of the numerous media appearances he’s made in the weeks leading up to the book burning, and responded to Gen. Petraeus’ comments on CNN Tuesday.
“The general needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them,” Jones said on CNN’s AC360.
“We are burning the book,” Jones said. “We have firmly made up our mind.”