Top NATO official condemns planned Quran burning on September 11th

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday said he “strongly” condemns the planned burning of Qurans on Sept. 11 by a small Florida church.

Rasmussen said such actions could have a “negative impact" on the security of the NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan.

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Terry Jones, the pastor of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., has said he will burn copies of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I think it’s a disrespectful action and in general I really urge people to respect other people’s faith and behave respectfully,” Rasmussen told reporters in Washington, ahead of a meeting with President Obama. “I think such actions are in a strong contradiction of all the values we stand for and fight for.”

The secretary general’s comments come just hours after the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, warned that the burning of the holy book could put the lives of U.S. troops in danger and hurt the war effort in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the Florida pastor’s plans. The protesters chanted “death to America” and some threw rocks at a military convoy, according to media reports from the country.

Jones, meanwhile, has been denied a permit for his demonstration but said he would go ahead nonetheless.

Rasmussen is scheduled to meet with Obama at the White House late Tuesday morning.

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