The US administration cannot penalize Terry Jones, the controversial Florida church pastor that had threatened to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks–or prevent him from going through with his threats–since the US constitution forbade interference in personal freedom of expression, said White House Assistant Spokesperson Rob Janson.
"US law permits personal freedom of expression," Jansen told Al-Masry Al-Youm. "This priest, Jones, may have been ignorant, fanatic, or even insane, but he's protected by the law and he didn't break the law."
American lawyer Thomas Greg told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Jones could not be prosecuted for committing a "religious offense," since no such law existed in the United States.
Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam supervising construction of a mosque at "Ground Zero"–site of the 9/11 attacks–in New York City, said the decision to relocate the mosque sent "the wrong message to Muslims, which is that Islam is under attack in America."
If the planned "Burn a Quran Day" had in fact taken place, Abdul Rauf added, it would have led to "catastrophe" in the Islamic World.
Opinions on the issue, meanwhile, varied among members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement. While MB Guidance Office member Abd al-Rahman al-Bar said there was no use in staging protests, another member, Mohamad Morsi, called for the boycott of American products by Muslims.
Samir al-Arki, leader of the hard-line Al-Gamaa Islamiya, said the group did not hold the US public responsible for "the insane act of this fanatic," adding that it had been satisfied with US President Barack Obama's condemnation of the move.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.