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Thousands of Afghans protest Koran-burning

September 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of Afghans took to the streets in Kabul Friday morning to protest a Florida pastor's plan to burn the Muslim holy book. Authorities said at least 11 people were injured during the protests. Police in the northern province of Badakhshan said several hundred demonstrators ran toward a NATO compound where four attackers and five police were injured in clashes.

Protesters also burned an American flag at a mosque after Friday prayers.

It's unclear what Pastor Terry Jones is planning to do. The original plan was that he was going to burn the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11.

Jones claims that Islam promotes violence and is intolerant, which is why he plans to burn the Korans.

The initial plan he laid out prompted protests nationwide and worldwide. The pope and others have spoken out about the pastor's plans. They said it would promote more violence.

On Thursday, the pastor said he was going to cancel the burnings, because he had worked out a plan with the imam behind the mosque planned in New York City near Ground Zero. But Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the American Society for Islamic Advancement said there was a misunderstanding and that he has no plans to stop building the mosque. The imam said cancelling the construction would send the wrong message.

"My major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be 'Islam is under attack in America,'" the imam told ABC News.

"We really felt like that was the will of God, that was a sign, that is what we should do. Now we're a little bit, not totally, but a little bit back to square one," said Jones.

One of the big concerns is that the pastor's plan would prompt violence in places like Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama spoke out against the Koran burnings, saying it would put U.S. troops in harm's way. Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually called the pastor and warned him about the danger to the troops.

Jones said on Friday that he wouldn't follow through with the protest if he was able to meet Saturday with the imam. But Rauf said in a statement Friday that he has no plans to meet with the pastor.The imam said he is open to seeing anyone "seriously committed to pursuing peace."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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