September 9, 2010
Posted: 11:31 AM ET
(CNN) - A controversial plan by a small Florida church to burn Qurans on September 11, which has triggered worldwide controversy, is a "recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda," President Barack Obama said Thursday.
"You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan" as a result of the proposal by the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center, Obama said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "This could increase the recruitment of individuals who'd be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities."
The Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove Center, has said he will proceed with the plan Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, despite increased pressure to abandon the proposal and warnings that going ahead could endanger U.S. troops and Americans worldwide.
On Wednesday, the Vatican joined a chorus of groups imploring the church not to burn Islam's holy book, saying it would be an "outrageous and grave gesture." The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki, also expressed concern, saying it will "lead to uncontrollable reactions" and spark tension worldwide.
Earlier this week, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, warned that the plan "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.
Filed under: Religion
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