Afghans protest, 11 injured - Fla. pastor plans to meet NY imam
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As thousands of Afghans protested a tiny Florida church’s plan to burn the Muslim holy book, the church’s pastor said he won’t follow through with the burning if he’s able to meet Saturday with the organizers behind a mosque planned near ground zero in New York.
In Afghanistan, at least 11 people were injured Friday in 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. In western Farah province, police said two people were injured in another protest.
Speaking to NBC’s “Today” show, the Rev. Terry Jones said if he meets with the imam in New York, he won’t burn the Quran. It wasn’t clear if he meant the burning would be halted indefinitely or just for Saturday.
Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, told CBS’ “The Early Show” he had a commitment for Jones and himself to meet in New York with the imam there.
City officials in Gainesville said Friday that no matter what Jones says he’ll do, they planned to stick with their plan to increase security in response to the event.
Earlier, Jones and Musri had disagreed sharply on the terms of their agreement.
Jones said Thursday he would call off the planned burning of Qurans based on a deal negotiated with Musri that the location of a mosque planned near ground zero in New York would be changed.
But Musri said he was clear on Thursday when he told Jones that he could only set up a meeting with planners of the New York City mosque. Jones responded by suggesting that he would go forward with his plan on Saturday after all.
“We are just really shocked,” Jones said of Musri. “He clearly, clearly lied to us.”