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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. SIxoh

    Well you can't have it both ways! "We will kill and burn Christians and Bibles, but don't burn OUR quran or we'll get REEL MAD!"
    More to come you islam-o-nazis! Have a nice day 🙂

    April 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • steve harnack

      Well your "we" is imagimary so send them away with your other imaginary friends cause it's time for your nap. And quit playing with the grownups computer.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  2. Tucker's mom

    The blood of the murdered is on Mr Jones's and his followers' hands as much as those who actually committed the crimes. I refuse to call him Rev. Jones because there is nothing "reverend" about him. I am very grateful that he did not get the media play that he did previously. Aren't there enough problems that we should be dealing with instead of whipping up a frenzy both in the states and abroad? His time would have been better spent collecting food & supplies to send to the impoverished in this country and abroad. Evidently there is nothing he won't do to get attention.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Ford Prefect

    If there was a God, it long ago cashed in its chips and moved onto another species to watch over. All the hatred, torture and killing performed in its name made it look bad. We're on our own folks. We either work it out amongst ourselves or we will end up killing each other off. If it comes to that, I wonder if there will be a waiting line to off Terry Jones and his like.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  4. Angelo

    In a nutshel if you are a Christian: If you follow a religion YOU FOLLOW SATAN...

    In a nutshell for all others: RELIGION KILLS

    April 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  5. Chris

    oh please, the hilarious thing is those Afghans can't even understand the Quran, most of them are illiterate in their own languages! Pashtun and Dari, let alone classical Arabic. There is no big deal here, a religious text was burned. Quranic printing presses got money because someone had to go out and buy those Qurans. In any case innocent people died! DISGUSTING! IGNORTANT! defend a piece of paper over human lives. please reform your religion or trash it.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  6. JohnR

    A relatively small group of Christian fanatics and a relatively small group of Moslem fanatics have in effect joined hands to creat more totally unnecessary misery.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  7. Dave

    You would think a man of God would not be so shortsighted. Someone might also want to inform him that the Quran-like the Bible-contains parables of Christ. So even if he is the type of idiot that thinks that only Christians can go to Heaven, he is still sinning by burning Christ's words. An intelligence test should be required for individuals wishing to be preachers, etc.

    In truth, Jones probably just wants attention because he thinks it will result in a larger congregation. For whatever reason he chooses to do these things, it is wrong.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Dave

      Jones is a rabble rouser and a poor representative of the Word of God.

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

      It is just sad how much violence and hatred stems from organized religion. This fact is one of the few things that make me doubt ;(

      April 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • steve harnack

      He was hoping for another new car. I guess that he must have had his fingers crossed when he promised to never burn a Quran. He should have to give back the car that he got!

      April 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • ScottK

      "An intelligence test should be required for individuals wishing to" join a group where its regular practice to talk to invisible people.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  8. jellylee2020

    Jones is just a stupid ignorant man. If you get all riled up over such a fool then you are no better than he. If you really feel so strongly about a book then stage your own "Put Bible on Trial" rally and burn it afterwards. As far as I'm concerned both books are about the same, both can be used for good and evil depending on who's preaching it.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  9. David in London

    In many places, Rev. Jones' behaviour would be prosecuted as a hate crime. Irrespective of this mob violence with its truly tragic outcomes, this self-appointed "reverend" has journeyed over the edge of reason for one or more purposes: satisfy his need for self-aggrandizement (in monetary and publicity terms), ingratiate and empower himself with his marginal sect, or to satisy a compulsive hate-filled urge deeply seated in his bizarre personality.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, the perverts at CNN are monitoring the site again.

      Amen.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And, you David. You have the right to post that this should be viewed as a hate crime. I suspect you agree with political correctness too.

      Amen.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  10. rclafnjack

    The biggest trouble with religion is the people that practice it.

    What a wicked sence of humor your GOD has..

    April 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  11. Nowar

    I thought the idiot had been dissuaded from causing trouble. Thanks to him at least 25 are dead. 2 of them had their heads sawn off. Beheading is a slow process.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  12. Alex

    organized religion – the greatest scam ever perpetrated on mankind

    April 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  13. killer

    People on all siides of this issue can now think of an excuse to kill that idiot pastor. All I can say is he won't be causing any more trouble if that happens.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  14. imurfavorite

    don't blame on the whole religion or ethnicity base on ignorance and hate acted by a few. Extremists, fanaticals and zealots always try to perpetrate their actions, like what this pastor is doing, based on their religious texts, which always points out the contrary. meaning i dont go around bashing other christians for this pastor mistakes, nor any catholics for what the priest did to their kids, just like people shouldn't blame the entire muslim faith for 9/11. please don't promote hate and bigotry, it gets you nowhere. peace be upon you all.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  15. bill saleem

    A sad and shamefull act by terry.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  16. Bill

    Guys like this drive me crazy. I now have to defend this moron's right to protest, and the people in the Middle East who are justified in being offended don't understand our tradition of sometimes shocking forms of protest. I'm not muslim, but I'm offended by this guy.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  17. DB

    iI agree with Jones statement calling the killings “tragic,” and urge the United States and the United Nations to “hold these countries and PEOPLE (him) accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuse he may use to promote his terrorist activities. It is a little man that wants to be noticed that does something this stupid. When confronted by a Diamond Back Rattler you do not poke him in the eye with a stick and expect to walk away unharmed. If I were a life insurance salesman I would not sell this guy any insurance as I think his life is going to be short lived. I personally thing it best if the US rounds him up and pays for a one way ticket to Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan and let him explain his actions to the population there. If he does anything less then is not only a domestic terrorist and does not believe in God who would protect him if he were justified in his actions.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  18. Angelo

    Our correspondent says that in a deeply religiously conservative country such as Afghanistan, that act has the power to inflame passions in otherwise peaceful areas.

    Burning the thing shows that he is "NO PREACHER OF ANY KIND". He is a careless moron. Those that attend his services are the problem with this country and the sheeple Christians in it. When your soldiers are there even a dumb person knows not not inflame tensions. Read the statement above. It's no different in the USA. Bombing medical clinics, picketing funerals, killing doctors this is no different than other countries. Our Christian crazies are just as bad ( because they live here not there) as the Muslim crazies. When Christians here learn to control themselves maybe we can set an example to other religion crazies in other countries. Until then Christians in the USA 1- "SHUT UP" 2-should be shunned and avoided at all cost by you and your family as they are the real life Satan and are too worked up to see it. Religion is responsible for more killing and murder than any other thing on the earth since the beginning of time. That includes all wars added together. This is a fact! Just that one fact alone is just cause enough be an Atheist. At least they are honest, they don't say love thy neighbor while killing or condemning them like all Christians here do. Atheist say live and let live as we all should do. This is in my opinion and I was raised a Devout Christian. But as I grew up and learned more about all religions. Christians, Muslims and any organized religion are deadly to the human race. Sorry. Same fact again. Facts are what ALL Religious Fundamentalist know nothing of or hate or call untrue. I think the church that the Quaran was burned in should be burned down with the same people in it that were present when the Quaran was burned. An eye for an eye and all that in this case a death for a death. Provided you wanted to stay with Christian Fundamentals!

    April 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Chris

      lol I bet you'd defend flag burning as protected speech but not Quran burning. Christians in American living next door are as crazy as the Muslims who blow themselves up and cut peoples heads off? Sure, I guess the U.S. is exactly like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Timothy Mcveigh wasnt doing anything in the name of religion. In his interview he said he didn't even believe in God and this was about Clinton and gun rights. Look for yourself. The only crazy violent Christians here are White supremacists with a racist agenda. I've never seen a Latino or Black Christian militia going around threatining people lol Black panthers are Muslim by the way. America dropping bombs has nothing to do with Christianity. Our armed forces are all sorts of religions and they attack over political decisions taken by a President by money or whatever interests. I dont even believe in Christianity by the way. I am just being clear. If you were to ask me the most peaceful religion is Bhuddism.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  19. Trevor Williams

    Give both sides a grenade. Stick 'em in a room together. It really doesn't matter who pulls the pin first. It's a win-win situation and the world's a better place.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Brain

      This "room" is the world and we are all in it

      April 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  20. Dre

    In a world gone mad over acts of triviality like the burning of a Holy book do normal acts of reason still apply? Aren't they needed now more than ever? I'm in shock.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:39 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.