In Gainesville, Fla., a pastor's plan to hold a public burning of Qurans to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has already set off angry protests from Afghanistan to Indonesia and elicited a formal response from the U.S. Embassy condemning the plan. Now, the book burning has another high-profile foe: Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of American forces fighting in that country.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Petraeus told The Wall Street Journal. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
That the proposed actions of Jones' church, which counts just 50 members in its congregation, should reverberate so loudly across the world is itself a telling sign of tensions between the West and the Muslim world, as well as what some see as a growing distrust of Islam in the United States.
From the controversy surrounding the so-called "ground zero mosque" in lower Manhattan, to the suspected arson at the construction site of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., this year's anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks comes as Americans engage in a vocal debate over the role of Islam in the future of the nation.
While Gen. Petraeus' fears that "Burn a Quran" day will lead to violence against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and around the world, police in Gainesville are also preparing for possible violence in Florida as a result of the church's protest.