Pastor's decision to cancel Koran burning in doubt

Pastor's decision to cancel Koran burning in doubt

The anti-Muslim leader of a tiny US church said he was lied to and is rethinking his decision to cancel burning copies of the Koran to mark 9/11.

Pastor Terry Jones earlier backed off his threat to burn the Koran after he said he was promised that a planned Islamic centre and mosque would be moved away from New York's ground zero.

Muslim leaders denied there was such a deal.

Later outside his church he said the imam he thought he made the deal with "lied to us" about moving the mosque.

Mr Jones and Imam Muhammad Musri stood side by side in a news conference where the pastor said he would cancel tomorrow's event.

Mr Musri later said there was only an agreement for him and Mr Jones to travel to New York and meet tomorrow with the imam overseeing plans to build a mosque near ground zero.

Mr Jones generated an international firestorm with his plan to burn the Koran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he has been under intense pressure to give it up.

President Barack Obama urged him to listen to "those better angels" and give up his "stunt", saying it would endanger US troops and give Islamic terrorists a recruiting tool.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates took the extraordinary step of calling Mr Jones personally.

Hours later, after Mr Musri and the leader of the New York mosque denied any agreement, Mr Jones said Mr Musri "clearly, clearly lied to us.

"Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision," Mr Jones said. "So as of right now, we are not cancelling the event, but we are suspending it."

Mr Jones did not say whether the Koran burning could still be held tomorrow, but he said he expected Mr Musri to keep his word and expected "the imam in New York to back up one of his own men".

Mr Jones had never invoked the mosque controversy as a reason for his planned protest.

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