US embassies brace for Quran burning protests

Embassies are to warn American citizens in countries where protests may occur

  • Imam Muhammad Musri at Dove World Outreach Center
    Imam Muhammad Musri, Orlando, of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, speaks to reporters before meeting wi Image Credit: AP
  • Imam Muhammad Musri at Dove World Outreach Center
    Denise Gridley, of Gainesville, Florida, protests outside the entrance to the Dove World Outreach Center in Ga Image Credit: AFP
  • Imam Muhammad Musri at Dove World Outreach Center
    Afghans move banners saying "Quran is our law, Islam is our religion" during a demonstration against the Unite Image Credit: AP
  • Imam Muhammad Musri at Dove World Outreach Center
    Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (C), speaks while flanked by Dr. Ingrid Mattson (R), President, Islamic Society of Image Credit: AFP

Washington: The State Department has ordered US embassies around the world to assess their security ahead of a Florida church group's planned weekend burning of the Muslim holy book amid fears it could spark anti-American violence.

Officials said Wednesday that US diplomatic posts have been instructed to convene "emergency action committees" to determine the potential for protests over the congregation's plans to burn the Quran to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States.

The embassies are to warn American citizens in countries where protests may occur.

The move underscores the Obama administration's deep worry that Saturday's planned Quran burning will inflame anti-American sentiment, particularly among Arabs and other Muslims, and will put US troops, diplomats and travelers at risk.

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has rebuffed appeals from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and senior military commanders to cancel its plans.

It was not immediately clear how many embassies had completed the security review, but the US Embassy in Algiers issued an alert to Americans in Algeria on Wednesday saying that "media reports of the upcoming threatened Quran burning by a small Gainesville, Florida, group could affect the security of US citizens overseas."

"If the event proceeds, it could trigger reaction and protests in Muslim countries around the world, possibly including Algeria," the alert said.