U.S. pastor says to call off Koran burning

08:26, September 10, 2010      

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U.S. Pastor Terry Jones on Thursday said he is to call off plans to burn copies of the Koran on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Jones, pastor of a small church in Gainesville, Florida, made the announcement at a news conference on Thursday afternoon. He claimed Muslim leaders have agreed to change the controversial plan to build an Islamic cultural center and a mosque near New York's World Trade Center site, where the 9/11 attacks took place in 2001.

He said he got the promise to move the mosque from Imam Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Society of Central Florida. The deal could not be immediately confirmed, and reports are already quoting sources as saying no such agreement has been made.

Jones also calls on other groups not to burn copies of the Koran, and said he will fly to New York on Saturday to meet with Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf, who spearheaded plans for the mosque next to Ground Zero.

Jones said Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called him earlier, and asked him to nix the plan. Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell said earlier in the day Gates and top aides were discussing whether Gates should intervene personally.

Jones' plan to burn copies of Koran is the center of a media frenzy in recent days. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have pleaded Jones to rethink his plan, which was also condemned by multiple international organizations including the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

U.S. military leaders have made it clear that the plan would endanger troops serving abroad.

Source: Xinhua


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