The State Department described as "un-American" plans by a controversial church to burn Korans in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks -- though the head of that church says he is not deterred.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the plan "inflammatory" at a briefing Tuesday and said it would put U.S. troops and interest around the world at risk, echoing a concern expressed by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
"It doesn't represent the vast majority of American views," Crowley said.
Secretary of State Clinton also condemned the church's plans during her remarks at a State Department dinner she hosted in observance of Iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths," Clinton said.
Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Afghanistan, repeated his warning Tuesday that any plans to burn the Muslim holy book -- considered a major offense in the Islamic community -- would jeopardize U.S. military efforts.
But Terry Jones, pastor of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., says not even protests and death threats will deter him. He told MyFoxOrlando.com that he and the church's members feel strongly about their decision to hold the book burning, despite being denied a permit from the fire department.
"We understand the general's concerns; we are taking those into consideration," Jones was quoted saying. "We feel it's maybe the right time for America to stand up. How long are we going to bow down? How long are we going to be controlled by the terrorists, by radical Islam?"
On Tuesday, Petraeus said that even rumors of the possibility the church would hold a Koran-burning touched off protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia.
"Images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and incite violence," Petraeus said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."
Though the National Association of Evangelicals and the National Council of Churches have denounced the plan to burn the Koran, Jones indicated he had support from other churches around the country. He did not name any, however.
Jones said he and members of his church are taking seriously several death threats directed at them; but if something happened, it would not be their fault.
"We will not be responsible," Jones said. "We are only reacting to the violence that is already there in that religion."