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White House blasts Florida church's plan to burn Qurans

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The burning would be a "recruiting bonanza" for al Qaeda, spokesman says
  • A top administration official may call the pastor planning the burning, a Pentagon official said
  • Robert Gibbs calls the organizer of the burning a "desperate" seeker of attention

Washington (CNN) -- A Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is a "monumentally terrible idea," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

The "hateful" and "offensive" act would be a "recruiting bonanza for al Qaeda," would endanger U.S. troops and "goes against every one of our values," he said.

Gibbs said there are discussions inside the Obama administration about intervening with the Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of Gainseville's Dove Center, which is organizing the planned Quran burning.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Thursday it is possible that a senior administration official will call Jones.

"That possibility is currently under discussion within the administration," he said. "That is an active ongoing discussion in which (Defense Secretary Robert Gates) is a participant. I don't believe they've come to any resolution."

Gibbs stressed that the United States is "not at war" with Islam. "We are at war with those who have perverted the values and beliefs of that religion."

Jones "is a desperate man seeking the attention of the better part of the world," Gibbs said.