* Chairman of Joint Chiefs asks pastor to not support film
* Pastor agrees to ‘re-evaluate’ showing movie
By Phil Stewart
WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, called a Florida pastor on Wednesday and asked him to withdraw his support for a film whose portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad has been linked to violent protests - including one that ended with the death of America’s envoy to Libya.
“In the brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause,” Dempsey’s spokesman, Colonel Dave Lapan, told Reuters.
U.S. military officials are concerned that the film could inflame tensions in Afghanistan, where 74,000 U.S. troops are fighting. The Taliban called on Afghans on Wednesday to prepare for a fight against Americans and urged insurgents to “take revenge” on U.S. soldiers over the film.
“He told me he had seen the film and that the film was pornographic ... and very, very bad. He asked me not to support it,” Pastor Terry Jones told Reuters.
Jones agreed to “re-evaluate” his plans to show the film. “If the film is indeed pornographic, then, of course, as a Christian pastor I cannot support that type of film and could not show it,” he said.
Dempsey’s office declined comment on Jones’ characterization of the call.
A U.S. official, briefing reporters later, described Jones as “non-committal” during the call.
Jones, who heads a tiny church in central Florida called the Dove World Outreach Center, has promoted Koran-burning events that have provoked outrage across the Muslim world and warnings from the Obama administration that such actions only help terrorist groups like al Qaeda. Jones’ plans to burn the Koran triggered deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010.
Jones said he received a 13-minute trailer of the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” via email two weeks ago and planned to show it on his website on Tuesday as part of a so-called International Judge Muhammad Day marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Due to technical difficulties, Jones said, he wasn’t able to show the trailer as planned. But he said the event, streamed live on the website StandUpAmerica.org included a burning of the Koran and an effigy of Mohammad.
Addressing the attacks on U.S. diplomats in Libya and Egypt, Jones denied that the film or his group’s activities had contributed to the violence.
“The outbreak of violence and deaths is not because of the film, it is not because of the activities that we have done and that we will continue to do.”