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Iraq’s Al-Maliki Condemns Pastor’s ‘Heinous’ Plan to Burn Koran

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned a Florida pastor for his “heinous” plan to burn copies of the Koran, warning that it could become a pretext for violence.

The act “could be used by extremists” as an excuse to conduct attacks, al-Maliki said, according to a statement on his website. It “will damage relations among religions and dialogue and cultural relations between nations.”

The prime minister called for the U.S. government to intervene to prevent the burning. He made the comments during a meeting with the U.S. envoy to Iraq, James Jeffrey, and Lloyd J Austin III, commanding general of American forces in the country, which currently number about 50,000, according to the statement.

The pastor, Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, has been widely criticized for his plans to burn copies of the Muslim holy book on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by world leaders including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. U.S. General David Petraeus, commander of international coalition forces in Afghanistan, has said the act would endanger U.S. troops.

Editors: Philip Sanders

To contact the reporter on this story: Caroline Alexander in London at calexander1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

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