Friday, April 1, 2011

Afghan officials: 8 killed at UN office when Qur’an burning protest turns violent - 1st April 2011

KABUL — Eight foreigners were killed Friday after demonstrators protesting a reported burning of the Muslim holy book stormed a U.N. office in northern Afghanistan, opening fire on guards and setting fires inside the compound, a top Afghan police official said.

The topic of Qur’an burning stirred outrage among millions of Muslims and others worldwide after a small American church in Florida threatened to destroy the holy book last year. The Florida pastor had backed down but purportedly went through with the burning last month, prompting protests in three Afghan cities.

Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman in Balkh province, said the protest in Mazar-i-Sharif began peacefully when several hundred demonstrators gathered outside the U.N. mission's compound to denounce the Qur’an's destruction.

It turned violent when some protesters grabbed weapons from the U.N. guards and opened fire on the police, then stormed the building, he said. "I can see the smoke over the compound," he said. Read More