Quran-burning pastor calls Islam accountable

Gainesville (Florida): The US pastor, whose burning of the Quran sparked deadly violence in Afghanistan, has called for "immediate" US and UN action against its perpetrators, saying the whole religion of Islam must be held accountable.

"Islam is not a religion of peace," Dove World Outreach Centre Pastor Terry Jones said in a statement issued after seven foreign UN workers had been killed in Afghanistan by protesters angered by the Quran burning, in the deadliest attack on the UN there since the 2001 invasion.

"The time has come to hold Islam accountable," he added.

Four Nepalese, one Swedish, one Norwegian and one Romanian worker were believed to have been killed yesterday, and several protesters killed or wounded after a mob overwhelmed guards at the UN compound in the normally relatively calm city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Five more people were killed during protests in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Saturday.

Jones called the killings "a very tragic and criminal action."

"The United States government and the United Nations itself, must take immediate action," he continued. "We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities."

The controversial evangelical pastor said he and his supporters demanded action from the United Nations.

"Muslim-dominated countries can no longer be allowed to spread their hate against Christians and minorities," he said.

"They must alter the laws that govern their countries to allow for individual freedoms and rights, such as the right to worship, free speech, and to move freely without fear of being attacked or killed."

Jones presided over the burning of the Islamic holy book on March 20 at his Florida church, an act he had long threatened despite warnings it would put American troops and others in Afghanistan in danger.

In a separate interview with a news agency, he said he was "devastated" by the killings in Afghanistan but did not feel responsible for them.

"The radical element of Islam takes that as an excuse to promote their violent activities… What we would like to see is the United States government standing up, the UN standing up.

"It`s time to stop ignoring the violence going on in Muslim countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said.

Jones said the killings "won`t change anything we`re doing" but added that there`s no plan to burn another Quran.

"We have, right now, no plans, no," he said to a news agency when asked if he would burn another Quran.