Bloomberg Defends Rights of Koran Burners

As Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein greeted students arriving at PS 172 in Sunset Park this morning, the mayor was asked about comments he made to the Daily News on Tuesday regarding the rights of members of a Florida church to burn copies of the Koran on September 11.

The mayor said their decision to burn the Koran is a disturbing one. But he defended his earlier comments, saying church members still have the right to do it. "The government can't stop you from burning a book. I said I thought it was distasteful, disrespectful and outrageous. I thought it jeopardizes this country and troops, but the Constitution protects it, and you either believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights or you don't. It's very simple."

When asked today about Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf's op-ed piece in the New York Times yesterday calling for support of the community center, Bloomberg said the decision to build or not to build is "not the government's business."