US pastor knew 'violent reaction' likely to Koran burning

1st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

US pastor Terry Jones said he knew there could be a "violent reaction" to a Koran-burning at his church, after seven UN workers were killed in Afghanistan on Friday in a protest about the event.

Jones, whose threats to burn copies of the Islamic holy book have incensed many in the Muslim world, presided over a Koran-burning in his church in Florida on March 20.

Seven foreign United Nations workers were killed Friday in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif by protesters angered by the event, in the deadliest attack on the UN there since the 2001 invasion.

Speaking to Britain's Sky News television from his Florida home, Jones called for the killers to be brought to justice.

"There was somewhat of an awareness that there could be a violent reaction," he said.

"I think that we need to really take this to heart and I think the people who did this, they should be called accountable.

"Christians who live in Muslim-dominated countries, they cannot speak out, it's very difficult for them.

"So, of course, if anyone speaks out it has to be us in Western countries, in free countries, who speak out for them."

On March 20 at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, evangelical preacher Pastor Wayne Sapp set light to a Koran under Jones's supervision.

The event was open to the public, but fewer than 30 people attended.

Jones last year drew condemnation over his aborted plan to burn a pile of the holy books to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Jones cancelled his plans under pressure from world leaders, but the mere threat to burn the Koran nonetheless sparked large protests in Afghanistan.

© 2011 AFP

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