Hundreds of Afghans railed against the United States and called for President Barack Obama’s death at a rally in the capital on Monday to denounce an American church’s plans to burn the Holy book on 9/11.
The crowd in Kabul, numbering as many as 500, chanted “Long live Islam” and “Death to America” as they listened to fiery speeches from members of parliament, provincial council deputies, and clerics who criticized
the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.
Some threw rocks when a U.S. military convoy passed, but speakers shouted at them to stop and told police to arrest anyone who disobeyed.
The Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center announced plans to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but has been denied a permit to set a bonfire.
The church, which made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil,” has vowed to proceed with the burning.
“We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States,” said Abdul Shakoor, an 18-year-old high school student who said he joined the protest after hearing
neighborhood gossip about the Quran burning.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a statement condemning Dove World Outreach Center’s plans, saying Washington was “deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups.”
Protesters, who gathered in front of western Kabul’s Milad ul-Nabi mosque, raised placards and flags emblazoned with slogans calling for the death of Obama, while police looked on. They also held up a cardboard effigy of Dove World Outreach Center’s pastor Terry Jones.