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Clinton fumes at plans to burn Quran

world Updated: Sep 08, 2010 11:21 IST
PTI
US Secretary of State

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said that she is heartened by the unequivocal condemnation of "disrespectful and disgraceful" proposed act of burning of the holy Quran by a Florida pastor.

"We sit down together for this meal on a day when the news is carrying reports that a pastor down in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn the Holy Quran on September 11th," she said in her remarks at the Iftaar Party held at the Foggy Bottom headquarter of the State Department.

"I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths, from evangelical Christians to Jewish rabbis, as well as secular US leaders and opinion-makers," Clinton said.

"Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. Many of you know that in 1790, George Washington wrote to a synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that this country will give 'to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance'," she said.

Earlier in the day, the White House agreed with its top commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus that the so-called "Burn a Quran Day" by a Florida's Pastor would endanger American troops overseas, especially in the war-torn country.

In a statement in Kabul, General Petraeus said that he is outraged by the Pastor's decision to burn the Quran, which he said could "endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort here."

"I think the best place to look for the views of this administration would be to look at the - look at what General Petraeus said over the weekend," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters at his daily news conference.

"We know that that type of activity being transmitted back to places like Afghanistan, where General Petraeus obviously is our lead commander. As he said, it puts our troops in harm's way," Gibbs said.

"Obviously that any time of activity like that would puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern to this administration," Gibbs said, adding that so far he has not heard of anyone from the White House reaching out to the Pastor in Florida on this issue.

"I haven't heard (anything) from the President (on this issue)," Gibbs said in response to a question.

Obama will attend a memorial service at the Pentagon on the occasion of 9/11 anniversary on Saturday.

"I believe the Vice President will go to New York. And, obviously, the First Lady and the former First Lady, Laura Bush, are in Pennsylvania," he said.