(MSNBC) President Barack Obama said in an interview Thursday that the Quran-burning plan by a Florida pastor was “destructive” and a “recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida.”
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview broadcast Thursday, Obama warned that Rev. Terry Jones’ plan would endanger U.S. troops and could lead to serious violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The president called it a “stunt” and exhorted Jones to “listen to those better angels” and call off the protest this weekend.
“If he’s listening, I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans,” Obama said. “That this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.”
The president also said Jones’ plan, if carried out, could serve as an incentive for terrorist-minded individuals “to blow themselves up” to kill others.
“And as a very practical matter, as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform,” the president said.
In Afghanistan on Thursday, Abdul Hadi Rostaqi, a member of the cleric council in the country’s largely peaceful Balkh province, said that if the burning goes ahead, “a big protest will be held” in the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif next Monday.
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