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Death Threats For Pastor At Center Of Quran-Burning

"Protests erupted in Afghanistan again Monday against a Florida pastor's burning of the Quran," The Associated Press writes, "making four straight days of demonstrations — some deadly --against the destruction of Islam's holy book in a country struggling to beat back an insurgency led by Taliban religious extremists."

It adds that "at least 21 people have been killed in the past three days of protests across the country."

Terry Jones, the Gainesville, Fla., pastor at the tiny church, says he's gotten hundreds of death threats. But he tells ABC News that he's willing to die for his belief that Islam and the religion's holy book are instruments of "violence, death and terrorism."

Jones also tells ABC that he isn't going to be deterred by the prospect of more deaths. "Perhaps in the long run we have saved hundreds or thousands of lives," he says.

Asked how many of his church's members have left because of the controversy, Jones says "basically all."

President Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, are among those who have condemned Jones' action and the violence it has ignited.

The violence in Afghanistan began Friday when protesters stormed a U.N. compound in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Today's Wall Street Journal reconstructs what happened there, and concludes that while officials have said the attack was "the handiwork of a small band of insurgents ... unreleased videos, interviews with demonstrators and the U.N.'s own recounting of events, [show] a more complex picture and [indicate] that ordinary Afghan demonstrators played a critical role in the attack."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.