As Washington scrambled to calm the outrage, Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, promised an inquiry and punishment for any proven offenders. But at Friday prayers in the Muslim world many preachers demanded vengeance and afterwards thousands took to the streets, burning American flags.
Although the original report in Newsweek was small, it was re-broadcast by television networks such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya and in Pakistan it was quoted by Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politic
ian, at a press conference. He said it would strengthen the impression that America’s War on Terror was against Muslims.