US pastor in U-turn on Koran burning

THE US pastor who planned to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York last night backed down claiming he had got guarantees over a planned mosque in the city.

Pastor Terry Jones said he had been given assurances by the Imam of New York, Feisal Abdul Rauf, that he would ensure a mosque planned for close to Ground Zero would be relocated. However, sources close to the Imam said he had given no cast-iron commitment to move the cultural centre.

Terry Jones said he was due to fly to New York to discuss the relocation with the Imam on Saturday.

The pastor’s plans to burn Islam’s holiest text had sparked a global outcry and led to fears of major repercussions internationally.

Yesterday morning President Barack Obama said the obscure pastor could provoke al-Qaida suicide bombings.

“This is a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida,” the president said. “You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities.”


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