A extreme fundamentalist Christian preacher in Florida who caused an international uproar last year by threatening to burn the Koran has put himself back in the spotlight after incinerating Islam’s holy book — again with deadly consequences.
Thousands of protesters in northern Afghanistan, enraged over news that the Florida pastor Terry Jones had overseen a torching of the Koran, stormed a United Nations compound on Friday, killing at least seven U.N. staff. A suicide attack hit Kabul and a violent demonstration against Koran-burning rattled the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday.
Jones, the 58-year-old head of a small fringe church in Gainesville, Florida, drew worldwide condemnation in September over his plans to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Several people were killed in protests then in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Jones eventually canceled that event under intense pressure from the U.S. government, the Pope, and other global leaders. But he has remained an outspoken critic of Islam, and says parts of the Koran can lead to violence and terrorism. On March 20, he presided over what he called an “International Judge the Koran Day” in which he supervised the burning of the book in front of some 50 people.