Interpol today warned its 188 member countries that there may be a higher threat of terrorism if a Florida fringe pastor burns Korans on Saturday as planned.
“One of INTERPOL’s primary functions is to prevent crime, and given that we have been made aware of a significant threat to public safety - an assessment which we share - it is our duty to ensure that we pass this information on to law enforcement agencies around the globe so that they can take appropriate measures,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a press release.
“Although there are currently no specific details as to what forms of terror attacks would follow, what is clear is if the Koran burning goes ahead as planned, there will be tragic consequences, ones which may well claim the lives of many innocent people,” he said.
Interpol said it issued the global alert in response to a request from the interior minister of Pakistan, but said it made “its own determination” in issuing the alert.
The pastor, Terry Jones, who runs the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, has said he will go forward with his plans to burn the Koran on the anniversary of Sept. 11, which this year is also the date of Eid, a Muslim holy day and the end of Ramadan.
President Obama, Gen. David Petraeus, Secretary of State Clinton, NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, U.S. senators and leaders of the anti-mosque movement have all condemned Jones’ plans and urged him not to go forward. They’ve warned that images and stories about it could fuel anti-American or anti-Christian violence overseas. Obama said it could lead to a “recruitment bonanza” for al-Qaeda.
There are, however, copycats. One pastor in Tennessee told his local paper he will also burn a copy of the Koran on Saturday and post the video online.
Muslims in Afghanistan and elsewhere have protested outside U.S. embassies in response to Jones’ plans, which, despite coming from a very small radical group, have garnered significant media coverage. The AP said today that it will not distribute video, audio, images or specific descriptions of Korans being burned, although the wire will cover the event if it happens.