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Timeline of Florida's Quran-burning pastor
Florida pastor Terry Jones.
April 1st, 2011
01:33 PM ET

Timeline of Florida's Quran-burning pastor

On Friday, a bloody attack on a United Nations building in Mazar-e Sharif is suspected to have been carried out by a mob protesting  last month's Quran burning by Pastor Terry Jones.  The Florida pastor made headlines last year when he threatened to burn Qurans to protest Islam, on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  On March 20, he went through with the act, this time failing to attract widespread media attention.  However, the incident triggered outrage in Pakistan, which condemned the desecration and called for him to be charged with terrorism.  Here's a timeline of events leading up to the Quran burning:

July 2010

Pastor Terry Jones, head of the 60-member Dove World Outreach Center church near Gainesville, Florida, announces he will host "International Burn a Quran Day" on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He tells CNN at the time that the event is to protest "the brutality of Islamic law" and that "Islam is of the devil."

The event is roundly denounced by a number of groups, including the National Association of Evangelicals.

August 2010

Religious leaders in Gainesville, Florida, hold a peace gathering to show solidarity in their opposition to Jones' planned event. The city of Gainesville denies a burn permit to Dove World Outreach Center, but the church says it still plans to go ahead with the Quran burning. Jones says an armed Christian organization, Right Wing Extreme, will provide security for the church. The organization later pulls its support, saying the event "does not glorify God."

September 2010

Jones signals that he may reconsider the Quran burning after a warning from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that it could put U.S. forces in danger.

The Vatican and others continue to urge the church not to burn Islam's holy book as worldwide protests start to heat up. Meanwhile, the U.S. military prepares for the worst.

Days before the planned event, Jones gives mixed messages about whether he intends to carry out his plans: He calls the Quran burning off, then says the church will "rethink our position."   As the date approaches, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama publicly urge him to call off the event. Jones also announces he plans to travel to New York on the day of the planned burning to meet with the imam behind a proposed Islamic center near ground zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks.

On September 11, 2010, Jones tells NBC, "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever."  He heads to New York where he sets up a meeting with the imam in charge of the proposed ground zero Islamic center.   Speculation that Jones called off the Quran burning as part of a deal to move the proposed Islamic center is disputed by a Florida Muslim leader.  Meanwhile, analysts criticize the media coverage of Jones and speculate whether it was all a publicity stunt by a pastor from a small Florida town.

October 2010

A New Jersey dealership gives Jones a free car for calling off the Quran burning.

December 2010-January 2011

Jones is invited to speak at an English Defense League rally in February 2011, but the British government denies him entry.  Jones vows to take legal action.

March  2011

Jones announces he will hold "International Judge the Koran Day" on March 20, in which he stages a mock trial of the Quran, burns the Muslim holy book, and posts photos on his church's website. The incident receives little media attention in the United States, but is publicly condemned by Pakistan's government. The country's interior minister calls for international terrorism charges to be leveled against Jones, according to The Associated Press of Pakistan.

Jones says he plans to take part in an April protest at the American Islamic Community Center, in Dearborn, Michigan, outside Detroit. The protest against "Sharia and Jihad" is scheduled for Good Friday, two days before Easter.  Officials at the Islamic Center of America are still deciding how to respond, though they are leaning toward a Good Friday counter-event that would bring together religious leaders of different backgrounds to encourage tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

April 1, 2011

Protests break out in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan against the March 20 Quran burning in Florida. A United Nations source says an attack on a U.N. building in the city that left 12 people killed – eight U.N. workers and four Afghans - followed those protests.

Jones issues a statement calling the killings “tragic,”  and urging the United States and the United Nations to “hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities.”

- CNN.com Senior Producer

Filed under: Florida • Islam • Pakistan • Quran

soundoff (606 Responses)
  1. Paul

    And we send our men and women there for what reason? And according to former President Bush: "But I believe then and believe now we have an obligation to help this young Democracy to survive and thrive."
    WHAT!!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • RegularFella

      like all of Bush's words: total BS. He got us into both of these wars and had no exit strategy. It is now on Obama's hands, but he is not doing much better. This only undermines our "mission" in Afghanistan, a huge setback. Of the 10-point declaration, one of them is to punish this man for buring thei Holy Book. That did not happen, now they hate us even more.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  2. judy frei

    I can't believe this publicity hound pretends to be a man of God. If his "church" enjoys tax free status, I'd like to suggest it be removed immediately.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  3. Guest

    I thought that coward reverend never did it and only made news but anything can work to incite these beasts.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  4. bp

    We can't charge this fool. Freedom of Speech protects his burning of the Quran and freedom of speech is important. However I think there is good grounds to charge this guy with negligent homicide. he was already told from his first attempt when he backed down in 2009 that he would be putting soldiers lives at risk. So he can't feign ignorance and the lives lost are on his shoulder.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • bp

      Rephrase: I meant to say we can't charge this fool for burning the Quran*

      April 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Obquiet

      I don't think "negligent homicide" works that way, but have fun with that anyway. Those Pakistanis are utter retards and obviously do not understand anything beyond what their mullahs and imams tell them.
      Why don't you go ahead and charge the real criminals? You know, the ones who murdered and incited to murder, i.e. the Pakistani muslims and their muslim leaders? They are the only ones in this world who caused this. They would have picked something else if Jones had never existed. These murderers would have grasped at anything to justify the murders that they sought regardless of actual events.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  5. NoWay

    Jones is a devil in disguise. A Jim Jones clone.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  6. kpt

    I think charges of incitement should be brought against Terry Jones, and people who support his rascist actions.
    The violence in Afghanistan is tragic and It clearly was provoked by this crazy man's burning a quran.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • tj

      Unfortunately these people are captive to a false ideology, the lack of control comes with defects in the portrayal of human interrelationships. So Terry Jones is realy not responsible. The problem lies in the defect of believing that GOD is so powerless he really needs man to act violently toward one and other.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  7. Dave, Terre Haute, IN

    Jones believes this attack to be 'tragic'? What did he expect would happen if he burned a symbol of religion, even after receiving warnings that retribution would be carried out ... that everyone would dance around sing praise to their god, whomever that may be? How would he feel if someone in Pakistan took the holy bible he holds dear, burned it and then posted photos of the 'ceremony' on a website?

    April 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • James Proctor

      I am sure that happens all the time it's just that the media doesn't care if it's a Christian being Tortured and Murdered but if it was a Muslim it would make headlines!

      April 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • laila

      @james ur wrong the opposite is true...have u read the reports on wikileaks> ex killing for sports and etc.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  8. me

    Does he realize he caused the death of 12 human lives? For what? publicity?

    April 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Obquiet

      He caused nothing. He has done nothing wrong. People who murder are insane regardless of their stated motives.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  9. Edwin

    Terry Jones is clearly an agent of al Qaeda - he is one of their biggest recruiting mechanisms right now. He must know how good he is for their organization. I hope they send him a check for his work on their behalf.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Red Eagle Woman

    Deliver Terry Jones to Afghanistan to stand trial for his actions. He does not even have the good conscience to own up to his own responsibility for what has happened. How would he react if a Muslim burned the Bible? Assuming he is supposedly a Christian. Let the Afghan people deal with him.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Obquiet

      An American citizen cannot be extradited from America. Period and end of stupid idea.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      The United States has extradition treaties with 108 countries, so Americans can indeed be extradited to most countries of the world, including Pakistan, but not Afghanistan.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tantric

      What about the fact that any theoretical "crime" here was done within our borders?
      Don't we extradite based on where the crime took place?
      And what about "double jeopardy"? If we charge him for the same crime here, then they can't have him for the same crime there, rite?
      And just what crime are we talking about? This is not a universally acknowledged crime like murder or arson, this is, at most, "incitement to riot" – yet the riot is not really a riot, if you get my drift. This is not like yelling "fire" in a theatre, this is like "booing" the movie and there is no basis for any riotous or dangerous behavior. Therefore you can't charge him with that either.
      Face it, you guys just don't understand culpability. Jones burned his own property and made a movie about it.
      He did not force this movie on those idiots in Afghanistan or wherever they murdered UN people, and he did not force them to listen to it, nor did he seek them out. There is no constraints upon his actions that prove the "incitement" part of the law.
      The man did nothing wrong. He has killed no one. He burned his own property.
      Muslims have burned many Q'urans themselves. Why isn't that part of this brouhaha? Why is their murdering okay?
      There is no excuse for murdering those people. None.
      No excuse for those Muslims. Their religious beliefs are insane.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  11. jonesdumb

    Jones will probably be knocked off by a mob of angry Muslims.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  12. RF

    And this moron wants to stage a protest outside of a mosque in Dearborn Michigan! I plan on personally screaming in his face!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Michael Miller

    If the Pakistanis charge him with terrorism, let's extradite him over there.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Edwin

      Although I appreciate the sentiment, I don't think we could. I wish we could simply kick him out of the country, though.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  14. g

    pee-pee on protesters!!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Nonimus

    What a pathetic human being.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  16. OhMyGoodness

    That a backwater, relatively insignificant person could effect this type of international incident is sad. My view is that we all have freedom of expression, check. I'm not a lawyer but recall that the Supreme Court has multiple times upheld that a person exercising their right to express themselves may be repressed if it is likely to cause violence or injury to others as a secondary effect of the action (ex. yelling "fire" in a theater or speaking pro-abortion at a anti-abortion rally which I believe are two of the seven or so examples). My question is, why was this ignorant individual allowed, with ample warning, to inflame an entire religion with intentionally inflammatory actions?

    April 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Obquiet

      How ironic that you would use the word "inflammatory" here. Ha.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  17. cew

    What did this March 20th burning not get media coverage!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    April 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Obquiet

      That would be one of my "burning" questions too! (pun intended)

      April 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Plato

    Personally I'd burn every piece of religious BS ever printed regardless of faith or denomination.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You can burn them all except the Truth (Holy Bible).
      Amen..

      April 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Obquiet

      I'm going to find a bible and burn it, and if I come across a quran I'll burn that too. But I might not get around to it for a while. Is that okay with everybody? No? Too bad. I have rights which include burning my own property regardless of what words are written on it. There is nothing holy about a bible or a quran and never will be.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      This phony HeavenSent is a perverted non-believer causing chaos writing behind my handle. She knows I'm still waiting to hear her real voice instead writing using my handle. CNN is just as perverted and just as guilty as the phony HeavenSent for allowing this to continue.

      Amen..

      April 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  19. Retspool

    Is this an april fool's joke

    April 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • RegularFella

      i wish this was an April Fools joke...

      April 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  20. arachnodite

    Terry Jones is a moron. A moron with a new car!

    April 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Edwin

      If we were to hold those accountable, Jones would be in jail, too. The people who attacked are certainly guilty, but he KNEW this sort of thing would happen and chose to burn the Quran anyway - he KNEW his actions would kill people.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Obquiet

      All he did was post some images as I understand it. There is no proof that he actually burned a Quran. Those Pakistanis do not care about actual proof of anything because they listen to liars everyday. It's all on them, not Jones, and that's the way it will always be.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.