The international police agency INTERPOL issued a global alert Thursday, warning there is a strong likelihood that a Florida church's planned Koran burning to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks could trigger terror retaliation.
"If the proposed Koran burning by a pastor in the U.S. goes ahead as planned, there is a strong likelihood that violent attacks on innocent people would follow," Interpol said in a statement.
The agency issued the alert to its 188 member countries following a request made by Pakistan's Minister of Interior Rehman Malik to engage the world police body's assistence in warning law inforcement around the world to be on high alert if plans to burn the holy book are carried out on Saturday's anniversary.
"One of INTERPOL's primary functions is to prevent crime, and given that we have been made aware of a significant threat to public safety -- an assessment which we share -- it is our duty to ensure that we pass this information on to law enforcement agencies around the globe so that they can take appropriate measures," INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a statement on the agency's website.
INTERPOL has circulated Pakistan's warning and its own alert to its bureaus around the world, and also has requested that any country receiving information about a potential threat to public safety contact INTERPOL's General Secretariat headquarters immediately.
"September 11 is a day when the world should come together to redouble our efforts to prevent and fight terrorism, not a day when any individual, especially an American, should engage in provocative acts that will give terrorists propaganda intended to convert September 11 from a day of remembrance, to one of recruitment for terrorists and others inspired to attack the US and other western targets," Secretary General Noble said.
"Pakistan's actions in contacting INTERPOL to ensure that potentially vital information in helping police identify and prevent any form of terror attack is circulated worldwide are to be commended, and the reaction of INTERPOL and others around the world in response to this planned hateful act should be seen by the Muslim community as strong evidence that this man and his small congregation stand alone," he added.