WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that plans by a small church in Florida to burn the Muslim holy book are "outrageous" and "aberrational" and do not represent America.
In remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton lamented that the tiny Dove World Outreach Center congregation in Gainesville had gotten so much attention for what she called a "distrustful and disgraceful" means of marking the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"It is regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Florida, with a church of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous and distrustful, disgraceful plan and get the world's attention, but that's the world we live in right now," Clinton said. "It is unfortunate, it is not who we are," she said.
Despite pleas from senior Obama administration officials that it will put Americans abroad at risk, church Pastor Terry Jones vowed to go ahead with the event.
Clinton appealed for Jones to reconsider and cancel. And, in the event he goes ahead with the plan, she suggested to laughter from the audience, that the news media ignore it.
"We are hoping that the pastor decides not to do this," she said. "We're hoping against hope that if he does, it won't be covered as an act of patriotism."
"We want to be judged by who we are as a nation, not by something that is so aberrational and we will make that case as strongly as possible."