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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. BC

    Too bad this nut job does not live here in Canada – he would be arrested and charged with hate crimes.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  2. herrsonic

    Pastor to Muslims, "April fools."
    Terry Jones announced to the public, "can't believe dumb Muslims fell for it."

    April 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  3. Felicitations

    This redneck so-called pastor is a disgrace. He knew that innocent people would die if he burned the kor an and he did it anyway. He's as bad as the Afghan sav ages who murdered those people.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  4. Richard

    Burn whatever you want. Only morons care about this..... The real question is "will it blend?" http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?type=unsafe&video=ipad2

    April 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  5. Casey

    Just fascinating... It is amazing to me how the majority of comments here say little or nothing to condemn the 12 murders... (2 beheadings no less)... but are quick to condemn the guy who burned the Koran. The burning is clearly messed up, misguided and against the principles of Christianity ... but the murder of 12 people who had NOTHING to do with it... I mean that's just plain evil. But OH!!! lots of people who just love to bach Christians just come out of the woodwork. I mean it's just plain weird what is happening in the world.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  6. CJ

    Never trust a pakistani..............

    April 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  7. Eleanor

    I am not a Muslim but I think this pastor has to be stopped. Why does he not worry about his own faith and his own salvation rather than causing other people to die when the Muslim world is so over the top? If people have now died in any part of the world due to this man he puts all of us in danger. This pastor should not even be given the name "pastor". He is a disgrace to the human race.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  8. sad

    this truly is a story with no winners

    April 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  9. MI

    A plague on all their houses! Jones is no Christian, but is a bad person. Those who killed the innocents in Afghanistan are no Muslims, and are also bad people. May they all burn in hell, if there is a hell, which I doubt, as we do a good job of creating our own hell.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  10. Muslim

    This is a message to the muslim readers of this news.
    To anyone – Please write your good comments and thoughts.

    Muslims, please don't do such kind of barbaric acts of killing people in the name of God. It's said no where
    in the Quran to kill innocent people. Just burning the book of Allah is not going to help anyone and doesn't mean that words of Allah has been completely wiped. Please ignore and forgive the ignorance the Pastor's act and live a honest and peaceful life by following the quranic verses of Allah and do let others live happily.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  11. Smokey Waterz

    Jones was warned that people would be hurt by his actions. The blood of those U.N. workers is on his hands.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Russell Barnes

      He knew what'd happen, but he went ahead and burned. Since he knew, maybe his real goal is to get our troops and their colleagues killed. The only burning that's needed is for him to burn in hell.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  12. Johnj

    Terry Jones and the Muslims who attacked the building are both to blame! It's sickening to seem him say “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.” He should be held accountable too! To the Muslims, what he did was an act of terrorism.

    Know God, No Peace

    No God, Know Peace

    April 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  13. Isaac

    Hopefully one day the truth of science will be understood by all and we will stop being a species where the majority of people have pure blind faith in a bunch of myths and fairy tales written by primitive farmers who thought the earth was flat.... WAKE.... UP!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  14. wwjd

    One other thing ,when are we going to find out what this religious leader thinks about his brave move. I can tell you with a huge amount certainty that he is one lucky sinner it wasnt one of my family members killed because of his stupidity.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  15. *SIGH*

    I wish people would find a way forward to peace. This nutjob is simply inciting violence and getting UN workers and our troops killed. For example, would you go into Detroit with an 'I hate n*ggers' t-shirt on? That is asking to be killed. While murder is wrong, you don't go seeking out the opportunity to be murdered.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  16. Jack

    Good job, holy rollers!

    April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  17. Jon Matthew

    This Pastor was wrong for burning the Koran. However what these protesters have done is much worse! Any taking of human life is pure evil and I hope they pay for the crime they committed; God willing!

    April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  18. Chaiah

    Terry Jones is responsible for the deaths of those twelve people. Why does any religious group think they have a right to perpetuate hatred against another – which is exactly what Jones and his ilk do. Are we heading back to the days of the Crusades? How would Jones and his nutjobs feel if a Muslim group burned what HE considers to be the word of G-d? Honestly, I am proud of the media avoiding reporting about Jones and the burning of the Quran. I just wish that those of the Muslim faith had not responded to his idiocy and killed those innocents. It is a shame that more Christians are not coming forward to denounce the actions of Jones and his followers. I am Jewish and his actions disgust me – as do the actions of those who killed twlelve in retaliation. My bet is there are more Jews, Muslims, and Christians who feel as I do. We need to let our voices be heard and encourage those perpetuating all this madness to stop.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Burbank

      Christians and their arrogant hypocrisy disgust me in general! – From an ex-christian!

      April 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Tony

      So if a Mullah burns a bible in Afghanistan, then on the other side of the world a bunch of wacked out Christians storm a UN compound and viciously murder 12 innocent people in protest, that Mullah is responsible for those murders? Hmmmm....doesn't pass my smell test. Stop making excuses for these Neanderthals.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Sam

      Terry Jones is NOT responsible for the deaths of those people! He is as responsible as the people who made cartoons of The Prophet, to which Islamo-fascists responded with riots and mayhem. His religious nutjob counterparts in Islam ARE responsible. He has the freedom to do as he pleases, even though I find his actions distasteful, intolerant, and they do not put Christianity in a favorable light.

      As for how a Christian would feel if a Bible were burned, most that I know would probably say "So what?" The words are holy, but the paper they are printed on is not. Someone correct me if I'm wrong,

      April 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Default_Username

      Oh please, then lets hold every President during a time of war accountable for all the deaths that were a direct relation to the war. We have freedoms.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Default_Username

      If anyone burns my bible, so be it! It does not affect my beliefs whatsoever. Quit crying. You want some kind of Utopia, and it WILL NEVER happen. I'm not going to go out on a rampage because someone bad-mouthed or showed disrespect to my God. That is for God to judge when their time has come.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Russell Barnes

      This person is Not a Christian. He is not even trying to emulate Jesus.
      And he is not following the way of God as real Christians or Jews know it.
      He's a phony; seeking to mislead people. Try him for a hate crime!!!

      April 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Chaiah

      Folks, for those in the United States, if an individual goads another person into a crime – or commissions them to commit a crime, that individual can be held just as accountable as if s/he had committed the crime. Do we all have freedoms? Yep! We sure do. We also have responsibilities and obligations in relationship to those freedoms. For instance, it is illegal to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre if there is no fire. To do so is a felony because the resultant effect can be people being trampled and dying. In essence, this is what Jones did. He KNEW that the actions of burning the Quran would cause a severe reaction on the part of some radical Muslims. Hence, he should be held accountable.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • JD

      So if I burn the Mexican Flag in protest and a bunch of radical Mexicans kill several Americans then I am responsible for their deaths? I am not condoning Jones's actions, but to say he is responsible for their deaths is going over-board. Burning a book or symbol can never be a justification for violence. The pastor has the right to burn what he wants to burn. I think he is nuts, but he has the right to burn the Quran in protest if he wishes. It does seem there is more outrage at Jones instead of the people that did the killings. When will these people learn that God does not need man to exact revenge in his name? I do not personally believe that Islam is a religion of hate, however I also start to wonder when I hear little outrage from the Muslim community when killings like these take place. SAD.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Chaiah

      No. JD. there is outrage at both. I, however, as likely are you, am a citizen of the United States and we are supposed to be a nation of tolerance. (Although, we all know better...) There are far too many people who support Terry Jones and his actions and do not hold him accountable HERE. Do I want those who took physical action to murder those 12 people? Of course. However, I am discussing the precursor to their actions and that involves Terry Jones' actions. I have Muslim friends who are being treated very, very poorly because of Terry Jones and those who think as he does. It seems that many do not comprehend (by choice or inability) that there are radicals in every religion/social group. You know, a prime example of this would be Charles Manson. Does anyone here know that Manson NEVER actually killed anyone, himself? His words and actions with other people created an atmosphere where those people felt compelled to murder. Terry Jones has done the same thing...

      April 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  19. Eternal Bliss

    Mr. Jones seems to be a very troubled man.... those of Faith should pray for him to attain Peace..

    April 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Kyle

      Religion can trouble anyone if they fall deep enough into it.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  20. Steve

    Time to burn some Bibles!

    April 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Burbank

      This Pastor should now be tried himself for hate crimes resulting in murder of innocent parties. He had been warned this would happen. Now he needs to point his hateful, judgemenal finger at his own chest!

      April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • jspecies

      This has got to be the silliest part of Mankind, religion. Just think, if there was no religion, there would be no wars going on right now and those folks would have lived. If you gave all those guys AC units over there, that would be the start of peace in the middle east.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:53 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.