Mayor Michael Bloomberg is refusing to denounce a Florida pastor's controversial plan to burn copies of the Koran on September 11th.
Bloomberg says Pastor Terry Jones has the right to set fire to the Muslim holy book, even though he finds the idea "distasteful."
The mayor, who has been a vocal supporter of the planned Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, says the Constitution gives everyone the right to speak their minds.
"The First Amendment protects everybody, and you can't say that we're going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement,” said Bloomberg. “If you want to be able to say what you want to say when the time comes that you want to say it, you have to defend others no matter how much you disagree with them."
Bloomberg also said he didn't think Jones would like it if someone burned a book Jones thought was holy.
General David Petraeus – the top United States commander in Afghanistan – has warned that images of a burning Koran could be used by extremists around the world to inflame public opinion and incite violence.