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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. musings

    No, Rev. Jones, the killings were not tragic. They were predictable.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Just an American

      Like it or not, the Rev Jones has the freedom and the right to express his opinions. Those who kill bystanders simply because they are not of the desired faith and happen to be "easy" targets cannot be condoned or forgiven. They are not holy people, martyrs, or saints – they are murderers.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Reality Check

      Don't forget that they were also preventable.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Angelo

      I heard that Rev Jones performed an abortion on one of his congregation. I wonder if the rest of the congregation knows. Na, if they did his home would have been blown up.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Nowar

      British soldiers died trying to protect U.N. staff. Something should be done about this man. There must be an American law to shut him up. Force him to plead the 5th amendment?

      April 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Pete D. from Elko

    There sure is a deep undercurrent of crazy running through every religion.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  3. CW

    First off....glad to see that christians are standing up for what they believe in. Koran...burn baby burn. Anyway....if someone wanted to burn the good book then would it make me angry...yes...but would I go and hurt someone who is innocent...No....would I go and hurt those that burned the good book...No....prayer is better for them. Islam on the other hand has proved that its has a lot more ter-orist's than christians do.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  4. imurfavorite

    @heavensent, no hes not doing GOD's work. its just like yelling fire on a crowded theatre!. he knows the consequences beforehand, so he does it anyway. what a hypocrit! and you are in the same level as he is for condoning such action! another hypocrit!.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      imurfavorite, if you can find the coward hiding behind heavensent's handle, you can tell the pervert off. But, like most non-believers, she/he is a liar, coward, thief and a stirrer of the pot by not using his/her real handle.

      Amen.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  5. James Proctor

    Ok I have seen several things on here that I have wanted to reply to but I have kept my self from doing so. This story and some of the comments to it just bugs me WAY to much to ignore.

    There are Muslim nations that go around KILLING Christians who are just minding their own business worshiping God in their homes. But then an American goes and Burns a BOOK and they flip out! Wheres the justice in that? This wasn't highly publicized but just recently in a Muslim Nation there was a Hospital full of Christians. Their Government locked the hospital up so the people couldn't get out and set the building on Fire. Every Christian in the building Burned to death in that fire. Yet they are concerned about a BOOK being Burned and so are alot of you guys! Shame on all of you!

    April 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  6. Ron

    Terry Jones of Florida can do anything he wants, but to burn the Qur'an his only purpose is to incite violence and in any and every culture on this planet that is just plain wrong.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  7. everyone

    Man oh man. This is funny stuff.

    Addicted to religion in the modern world? Are these people serious?

    April 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  8. peoplecalmdown

    http://www.testifi.webs.com – true peace comes from love, not a factor in this predicament, don't spend your time hating here, instead spend it loving.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  9. NoDoubt

    This pastor needs some jail time. Immediately.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Al in Portland

    Religion is the problem. Bar none, religion has caused more misery and suffering than any other invention of man. Until these deluded relgious people and their sad representatives in government are forced out of the public square and back in to their cult buildings, America risks becoming yet another failed empire.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Religion is madness

      Too late for that. We failed before we started. Religion is BS and should have no rights to expression until they can prove they aren't insane.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • peoplecalmdown

      The Roman empire even killed Christ, yet did they survive in their years. Not justifying the actions of a few for the actions of a whole group, but no empire really ever survives beyond few hundreds of years because the idealism changes every so often, and the idealistic goal of one country is not yet solely defined.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  11. Techyguy

    Matthew 5:43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborh and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemiesi and pray for those who persecute you". Does this pastor even read the bible. Jesus would not burn it. The thing I think god cant stand is things done in his name. Why cant everyone just get along

    April 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Karzeye

      There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jesus would burn the Bible, the Q'uran, and the Torah now that he is the Messiah.
      He now has knowledge that those books are total BS and would burn them all in a heartbeat.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  12. Ugh

    Stuff like this makes me want to make a video of me putting a Bible, Koran and Torah through a paper shredder and then burn it.

    It's just a damn book.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Theoderic

      You know it, I know it, but the insane ones do not know it!

      April 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  13. Techyguy

    Matthew 5:43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborh and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemiesi and pray for those who persecute you". Does this pastor even read the bible. Jesus would not burn it. The think I think god cant stand is things done in his name. Why cant everyone just get along.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  14. peoplecalmdown

    Haven't they always, where do you think laws come from. Why be lawful person when its much more fun to be an unlawful person, because we need some restraint. When did we ever begin to restrain ourselves in history, when did we ever learn restraint before barbaric acts.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  15. Dr. Rich Ferguson

    Stupid, self-important, bigoted SOB. This alleged religious man typifies the failings of all religions throughout the ages. He gets to feel superior, and others pay the price.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc so he shouldnt have the right?
      Amen..

      April 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • peoplecalmdown

      it has nothing to do with right, but more over God's will, and I don't think that burning a book is God's will. He should be spreading love. Right is an idea that we created to justify certain acts. No one has the right to do anything but decide. If we had all the right, we would have been given the power to destroy all evil at once, but we weren't. we were given the power to choose and make decisions. we weren't guarenteed anything, and God owes us nothing.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Theoderic

      I agree with you Dr. Rich Ferguson.

      April 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  16. jkINC

    Of course he had the right to burn the Quran, he also had the right to use his brain and not burn it. Rights come with the responsibility to respect the rights of others, it's not an invitation to do whatever you want without consequence. This so called pastor has some of these peoples blood on his hands. If there are truly pearly gates, he will not pass thru.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  17. imurfavorite

    i wish this was an april fools joke. if not, GOD help him!

    April 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      He is doing Gods work, of course God is helping him. In Jesus name!
      Amen..

      April 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @HeavenSent
      "He is doing Gods work, of course God is helping him."

      Funny, that's what the protesters in Afghanistan think as well.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Nominus, you're just as perverted as the phony heavensent and David Johnson. Not to mention that you are all cowards.

      Amen.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  18. Gee

    Would the christians be upset if bibles were burned in Pakistan in protest of Christianity?

    April 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Gee actually your question shouel be would we kill over it? Of course not, we are not sa v ages.
      Amen..

      April 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • peoplecalmdown

      a bible isn't the word, the word is the bible, if you burn the bible you are not burning the Word, just a bunch of pages with words on them.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      To the phony Heaven Sent, are you having a good time being a coward today? Use your own handle to start your chaos. Oh, that's right, perverts have to stay hidden behind a Christian's handle.

      Amen.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  19. Amandaa

    >"Religion poisons everything." C. Hitchens

    So does ideology and any "heresy" challenging the status quo.

    >Christians have been just as guilty in the past, of torturing and killing those that did not think as they did.

    This is the mantra on the left: and you too....

    >The Muslim religion is only 1500 years old. In another 500 years, I suspect it will evolve, as Christianity has.

    After 12 centuries, Christianity built universities and philosophical foundations of science (Aquinas) and it was harder to make progress among the barbarians than anywhere else. You miss the point that islam is a political system (they call it the whole way of life). They follow Mohamed in this respect. Christians follow Christ (however imperfectly) and he said render to caesar.... the rest you know.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • NightLynx

      Just as guilty? Christians, in the name of Christianity, have committed FAR more atrocities over the centuries than Muslims - not even close.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • peoplecalmdown

      Christians who kill are not Christians at all. Do not judge Christians by the actions of a few. True Christians spread love, the message of God. If anyone comes in the name of Christ but does not act in the way of Christ, they are not of Christ. Are people really this well unread?

      April 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Al in Portland

      Yet another Christian with no sense of history. What were the followers of Islam creating while Christian Europeapns were in the Dark Ages and slaughtering one another (at the behest of the Chuch)? Answer: making huge leaps in civil society and the development of the sciences.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • peoplecalmdown

      honestly has no one read the bible!!?? You claim these killers were Christians, but what you don't know is that they are not. If we weren't making huge leaps in society, then what message have we really been spreading? Once again, don't judge everyone by the actions of a few. It is not yours to judge as it is. Did Christ not say 'Love your neighbor as yourself?"

      April 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      peoplecalmdown, what kind of Christian are you? Or are you even one?

      Amen.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  20. bub

    The stupid, racist, hate mongering S.O.B. should be indicted for manslaughter.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Goose66

      You got to be kidding me. You want him indicted for manslaughter for burning a book. I don't know if you are atheist, Christian, Muslim, or other, but I would hope you would hold the First Amendment (and corresponding other) rights to Free Speech as the most sacred of all of them. Afterall, it is what allows you to post your ignorant and pointless rant on this website.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Raevyn

      Yes, Terry Jones has the blood of those killed on his hands. Hate begets hate and what we do and say has very real consequences. Now he's going on TV saying it's time to hold Islam accountable. What about your accountability Terry?

      April 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • jams

      lol- try to apply a similar standard universally bub. that's feasible.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • cameron

      its a book who cares. Religion causes so many problems like this, both sides need to grow up. Who cares about the Quran

      April 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Amandaa

      Why should the 15th century Christianity be judged based on 21st century standards?
      Why should the 21st century Islam be judged on 15 century standards?

      Isn't it a double standard?

      April 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Worship Money and Burn the Quran

      Oh yeah Afganistan Islam freaks, well we've bombed your entire country and some of your neighbors, now LIbya and soon to be so many more because you burned our "Holy Book"-the Twin Towers, "Peace be upon Them", which represent what we worship in America the most-Money, "Peace be upon It". So your little killing of a few over the burning of a Quran isn't anything. Just don't touch our sacred Wealth again or it's gonna be raining bombs on ya'll again!!!

      April 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • William Munny

      What a weak statement...They burn Bibles every day, The US military gave them over 200,000 bibles to burn last year and not one protest about it or riot.... These Muslims live by a standard that is not ready to mingle with the rest of the world. I say burn more KORANS and draw more cartoons of their prophet Mohammad. They need to learn this world is larger than them, and they must except the ways and feeling of the worlds population too.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:30 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.