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British group to burn US flag protesting Quran burning

world Updated: Sep 09, 2010 20:32 IST

IANS
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A radical Muslim group in Britain intends to burn the American flag at various locations in the country protesting the plan of a US pastor to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack, a media report said on Thursday.

Islam4UK, a web-based organisation that describes itself as a platform for banned group Al Muhajiroun, has asked Islamic groups in Britain and other countries to carry out the protests as well.

Terry Jones, the pastor at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, is planning to conduct an "International Burn a Quran Day" on Saturday, despite receiving more than 100 death threats.

"Anjem Choudary is the former head of Islam4UK which was outlawed by the British government in January. He is now calling for the burning of the American flag outside US embassies at cities around the world in direct response to what Pastor Terry Jones is planning in Florida," Sky News reported.

"He says he's spoken to leaders of other Islamic groups in Belgium and in Switzerland, Indonesia and elsewhere, who support him and plan to stage similar protests," the report said.

In Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, around 100 Afghan nationals gathered outside the US consulate building in protest.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair have joined international leaders in condemning the plans to burn the Quran.

The prime minister "strongly opposed" any attempt to offend members of a religious group, a spokesman said.

The White House, the Vatican, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan have all urged Jones to call off his protest.

Pakistan has asked Interpol to intervene and has described the plans as "shameful and against any religion".

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply disturbed".

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who founded his Faith Foundation after leaving office to promote understanding between the world's religions, said: "I deplore the act of burning the Quran.

"It is disrespectful, wrong and will be widely condemned by people of all faiths and none. In no way does this represent the view of any sensible person in the West or any other part of the world.

"You do not have to be a Muslim to share a sense of deep concern at such a disrespectful way to treat the holy book of Islam."

"Rather than burn the Quran, I would encourage people to read it," Blair said.