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Plan to burn Quran 'un-American', says US

Source: PTI
September 08, 2010 09:33 IST

The Obama administration has said the decision by a Florida pastor to burn the holy Quran on September 11 is 'un-American' and warned that such actions could endanger US' interests in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Hoping that the Florida pastor would not commit the act which he had announced, State Department spokesman P J Crowley said the US is aware of the adverse implication this would have on Americans overseas civilians, diplomats and military.

"We think that these are provocative acts, they are disrespectful, they're intolerant, they're divisive, and we're conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed. We would like to see more Americans stand up and say that this is inconsistent with our American values. In fact, these actions themselves are un-American," Crowley said.

"The pastor says that he's contemplating these actions to combat radicalism. In fact, these actions, if they take place we hope they dont will actually feed radicalism," he said.

At the same time, Crowley said, people around the world need to also understand that America is not represented by one pastor or his 50 followers.

"We are a nation of 300 million people. The vast majority of Americans are standing up this week and saying that these contemplative actions are inappropriate, theyre abhorrent, and this should not happen," he said.

General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said that such as act potentially put soldiers at risk. "For any American who is travelling, any diplomat in posts around the world, these actions, whatever their motivation, potentially put American interest and American lives at risk," Crowley said.

"This is a divisive potential act of disrespect of one of the worlds great religions. And while we support and those of us are who are constitutionally charged to defend our freedoms, including freedom of expression, this is an action that has potential serious ramifications. It is a statement of intolerance that we believe is contrary to our values and how we conduct ourselves day in and day out here in the United States of America," he said.

Arguing that burning the Holy Quran is inconsistent with the values of religious tolerance and religious freedom that are innate to Americans, he said there are far better ways to commemorate 9/11 and the religious bigotry that that event represents than to commit yet another act of what he would consider to be religious radicalism.

The State Department spokesman said the proposed act to burn the Holy Quran by a Florida Pastor has the potential to inflame public opinion around the world in a way that will jeopardize American lives and American interests.

"It does not represent our core values as Americans. We hope it does not happen. We hope that between now and Saturday, therell be a range of voices across America that make clear to this community that this is not the way for us to commemorate 9/11. In fact, it is consistent with the radicals and with those bigots who attacked us on 9/11," he said.

"We are hopeful, between now and Saturday, that a range of voices, whether theyre political figures, religious figures, others, can rise and convince this community that there are better ways of commemorating 9/11 than through this action," he said.

"If this community goes ahead with this proposed event on Saturday, we would hope that the rest of the world will judge us not by the actions of one pastor or 50 followers, but judge us by a tradition that goes back to our founding," he argued.

The US did not indict entire countries or an entire religion over the actions of 9/11, and it would hope that the rest of the world does not indict the United States for the actions of one fringe element in Florida, he noted.

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