A Florida pastor ignites tensions among Muslims days before 9/11 anniversary.
The crowd in downtown Kabul reached nearly 500 today, with Afghan protesters chanting "Long live Islam " and "Long live the Quran," and burning an effigy of Terry Jones, senior pastor from the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida who is planning the event.
The protesters were well aware of the pastor's inflammatory comments, such as the "Islam is an evil religion," since they have been spread wide on the Internet. Jones has also authored a book, "Islam Is of the Devil."
The protesters' anger wasn't limited to Jones, however. Chants of "Death to America" echoed through the crowd, and U.S. flags were set ablaze alongside the effigy of Jones.
"America cannot eliminate Muslims from the world," one Afghan man told ABC News.
The angry crowd pelted a passing U.S. military convoy with rocks.
Gen. David Petraeus said he is outraged by the pastor's decision to burn the Quran, which he said could "endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort here."
Former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Jack Keane, an adviser to Petraeus, called it "outrageous" and "insulting to Muslims."
"It's also insulting to our soldiers in terms of what they stand for and what their commitment is to this country and to the Muslims in this country," Keane told ABC News.
But late today, Jones vowed he would go ahead with the Quran burning, even knowing the concerns of Petraeus and Keane for the safety of U.S. troops.
"What we are doing is long overdue. We are revealing the violence of Islam that is much, much deeper than we'd like to admit," Jones said in an interview with ABC News.
A Facebook page dedicated to the day, entitled "International Burn A Koran Day" has more than 8,000 fans.
"On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm - 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!" the page declares.
Over a hundred other pages have sprung up for and against the event on Sept. 11, incidentally the same day as a Muslim holiday called Eid, celebrating the last day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
Some Muslims fear that images of celebration could fuel further tensions with Americans that day. But in the meantime, in Kabul, there is word that a protest planned for Tuesday could be even larger than the one today.
Here's Acts 17's official response to "Burn the Qur'an Day":