Pakistani protesters shout slogans as they burn the U.S. flag during a protest in Multan

Quran burning plan stirs outrage in Muslim world

By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan – Hundreds of angry Afghans burned an American flag and chanted “Death to the Christians” on Thursday to protest plans by a small American church to torch copies of the Muslim holy book on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Local officials in Mahmud Raqi, the capital of the Kapisa province some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Kabul, estimated that up to 4,000 people took part in the protest. But NATO spokesman James Judge said the protest numbered between 500 to 700 people.

“The Afghan national police prevented the protest from overwhelming an Afghan military outpost,” and dispersed the demonstration, he told The Associated Press.

Judge added that the Quran burning is “precisely the kind of activity the Taliban uses to fuel their propaganda efforts to reduce support” for coalition forces.

Abdul Hadi Rostaqi, a cleric council in Afghanistan’s largely peaceful Balkh province, also said Thursday that, if the burning goes ahead, “a big protest will be held” in the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif next Monday. Protesters would hurl stones at NATO-led troops stationed in the city — one of the country’s main centers of the Islamic teaching.

Religious and political leaders across the Muslim world, as well as several U.S. officials, have asked the church to call off the plan, warning it would lead to violence against Americans. The Rev. Terry Jones, of the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has vowed to go ahead with the bonfire on Saturday, even though he has been denied the required permit.

To read more, visit: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100909/ap_on_re_as/quran_burning_reaction

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