New York: Stoking a controversy, New York
City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today defended a Florida pastor`s
right to burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of
the 9/11 attacks.
"In a strange way, I`m here to defend his right to do
that. I don`t think he would like it if somebody burned a book
in his religion that he thinks is holy," he told a press conference.
"But the First Amendment protects everybody and you
can`t say we`re going to apply the First Amendment in only
those cases where we are in agreement," he said.
Despite calls to cancel the event, the Dove World
Outreach Center run by Pastor Terry Jones have decided to go
ahead with the plan.
Bloomberg had also supported the controversial
proposal to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center two
blocks from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.
Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she
is heartened by the unequivocal condemnation of "disrespectful
and disgraceful" proposed act of burning of the holy Quran.
"We sit down together for this meal on a day when the
news is carrying reports that a pastor down in Gainesville,
Florida plans to burn the Holy Quran on September 11th," she
said in her remarks at the Iftaar Party held at the Foggy
Bottom headquarter of the State Department.
"I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation
of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from
American religious leaders of all faiths, from evangelical
Christians to Jewish rabbis, as well as secular US leaders and
opinion-makers," Clinton said.