e House spokesman Robert Gibbs has described a U.S. church's threat to burn copies of the Quran as "un-American" and warned that such actions could endanger U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
A Florida pastor's call on his followers to mark the forthcoming 9/11 anniversary by burning several copies of the Islamic holy book has sparked an angry reaction in the Islamic world and, according to media reports, was also condemned by some Christian organizations.
"We're very conscious of what has been discussed as potential actions down in Florida at the end of this week. We think that these are provocative acts, they are disrespectful, they're intolerant, they're divisive, and we're conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed," Crowley said.
"First of all, people need to understand that in this country, we have freedom of religion, we have a tradition of religious tolerance, we also have freedom of expression. We believe that these are fundamental principles of U.S. society," he said.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, as have also condemned the Florida church's initiative. General Secretary of the Global Islamic League, Abdallah Ben Abdel Mohsen At-Turki, has described the move as "an expression of extreme rage and impudence."