Petraeus: Koran burning could amount to another Abu Ghraib
The top US commander in Afghanistan warned Wednesday that a Florida pastor's plan to burn copies of the Koran could be as harmful to the United States as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, dpa reported.
General David Petraeus told NBC television that images of the Koran burning would be used by Islamic extremists to fuel anti- Americanism and harm the US mission in Afghanistan and other areas in the world.
"We're concerned that the images from the burning of a Koran would be used in the same way that extremists used images from Abu Ghraib that they would in a sense be indelible," Petraeus told NBC.
"They would be used by those who wish us ill, to incite violence and to inflame public opinion against us and against our mission here in Afghanistan, as well as our missions undoubtedly around the world," he added.
Photos emerged in 2004 showing US soldiers abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility outside Baghdad. The images sparked worldwide outrage and badly damaged US credibility.
Terry Jones, the pastor of a small congregation at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Flordia, plans to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Jones said he intends to send a message to Islamic extremism. US officials have publicly condemned Jones and the 50 members of his church. Jones has vowed to proceed with his plans despite the outrage.