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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. Religion Noble Lie

    Religion, the "noble lie" opiate of the masses, mental disorder disease... Religion needs to be outlawed. Public places of 'worship' to a 3000+ year old fairy tale should be banned. Also all religious facilities should not be tax exempt. People who actively believe in any god In my opinion are the greatest fools. when you die, you turn back into the earth. thats it.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I'm ashamed of all you who call yourselves Americans for not defending someone's freedoms. This man did nothing wrong. He burned a book. A collection of paper and text. What would have become of that book in 1,000 years? To dust. If the Muslims have true faith, then their word will always remain. I am a Christian but I couldn't care less if someone burned a Bible. You'll never be able to burn them all and even if you could, we still have the words written on our hearts. I find it deplorable that so many of you are turning on someone just for burning a book. On the surface, I don't think his actions are necessary...but by seeing the reactions of Muslims and especially of his fellow citizens, I realize that it was quite necessary to bring forth the injustice of certain peoples' principles. Humans ought to be free so long as it causes no harm to anyone else. And his burning of the book did not cause anyone to die. That was the choice of the murderers. Besides, if it weren't for sensational media outlets reporting on these insignificant acts, no one would know about it. So, if you want to condemn the pastor, then you must condemn the media and the murderers all at once. But to say that a man shouldn't be allowed to burn a book is laughable. This is the land of the free. Most of you have forgotten those that have died to give that to us. Cherish it because it doesn't appear to be staying for long.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • NZNZNZ

      America is not the land of the free nor is it the home of the brave... it is the land of the patriot act, it is the home of Guantanamo Bay, and secret extraditions and its soldiers torture and abuse just like the best of the worst. It is also one of the largest donors of aid in the world, it has the Peace Corp. It is not all good nor is it all bad. Your logic is false but I take your point regarding the media... the media sells information for $$$. The preacher should be allowed to burn a book... but he should not burn in a way that knowingly promotes violence... shouting fire in a crowded theatre is illegal.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  3. Amandaa

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

    I wanted to see some real numbers not a dumb stalinist propaganda.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • ScottK

      Well, there were 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Bible for starters...

      World Christian Encyclopedia (2001) estimating the number of martyrs since the origin of each religion:
      The book defines martyrs as those who have lost their lives prematurely In situations of witness as a result of human hostility. Most were perpetrated by those of an opposing religion, though many in the 20th Century were at the hands of athiests (approx 31M total).

      Muslim martyrs: 80M
      Christian martyrs: 70M
      Hindu martyrs: 20M
      Buddhist martyrs: 10M
      Jewish: 9M
      Ethnoreligious: 6M
      Sikh: 2M
      Baha'i: 1M
      Other religious martyrs: 5M

      April 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  4. NZNZNZ

    Why would someone burn a Koran or a bible knowing full well that that action would serve to inflame tensions and that it would quite likely lead to violence?

    It was clearly a premeditated action which resulted in exactly the level of violence they would have surely been instructed it would create. I was akin to the preacher lighting a match and throwing it on someone soaked in petrol and then claiming that a murder was not committed because the preacher did not soak the man in petrol... the preacher simply lit a match (as people do) and then tossed it.

    No court in America would find the preacher innocent in the example provided yet his action of burning a religious text had the same result. The preacher is guilty of manslaughter if not murder. Interestingly no one will attempt to lay charges against him because of his right to free speech.

    Freedom of speech carries a lot of responsibility. Clearly the preacher and his friends have abused this freedom. It should be taken away from him until he grows up and behaves in a way that benefits and not persecutes mankind.

    This is a sad story.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  5. Narsima Rao

    If some idiot burns koran, others can burn bibles. why killing innocent people who are nothing to do with these incidents. If you are really religious, you will really beleive in every religion.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  6. PraiseTheLard

    While I agree that this so-called "Pastor" is a jacka-ss, let's not forget the Taliban destroying historic statues of Buddha about 10 years ago... Given the relative worth of the items destroyed – 1 book, a copy of the Qur'an, versus two large carved, irreplaceable statues over 1400 years old, I wonder if an appropriate response to the latter would be the total annihilation of Afghanistan? (Oh, I forgot... we're working on it...)

    April 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  7. boodog2009

    hi all, this is truly sick. We have a guy here in the U.S, that decides to burn the Koran, and we all are responsible for what one individual did? Whether we agree or not?

    April 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  8. Alan Lindsay

    I do not recall any Buddhist attacks on Muslims when Afhani Mullah Mohammed Omar's fanatical followers dynamited the standing Buddhas of Bamiyan, a World Heritage Site that is sacred to Buddhists. I'm not buying into Buddhism, but they seem to be much nicer people than the angry religious warriors of Islam & Christianity.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  9. James M

    Thinking about this for one second. I can go to Barnes & Noble, and buy any book I want, including at least six different translations of the Koran that I saw the last time I browsed the shelf there. I can take this book home with me. I can build a nice little fire in my Kiva, say whatever ceremonial prayer I'd like to say, and put the book right there on the fire.

    I won't appear in CNN. Nobody will kill or be killed in my name. In fact, nothing at all would happen except that I'd be out somewhere between 8 and 60 bucks.

    So this isn't about "burning a Koran" per se. It's about broadcasting idiotic things.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  10. JonathanL

    He does something in America that almost all of us would not do just out of respect and being at least half decent. Why do the Moslems then go and kill 12 and injure 31 people in a different country who had nothing to do with what Terry Jones did. For all you anti-western muslims this guy doesn't represent the west any more than Bin Laden, a suicide bomber, or Al Qaeda member represents Islam or the Middle East. Unfortunately in such large populations as we have on both sides, these creeps will emerge from the woodwork. These types of weirdos exist on both sides, get way too much attenention, have way too much negative impact, yet represent the lowest common denominator. I guess they want to drag the rest of us down with them, but why?

    April 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Siddharth

    How does the burning of a book (holy or not) justify killing people??? taking anyones life in the name of religion is simply outrages especially if the same people claim to believe that all beings are created by God...the Pastor only burnt the quran let the muslims burn the bible (or two) if they so wish...

    April 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Justin

    This guy is a putz. I'm a Jew that has dealt with Muslims and have some respect for them. Religion is the scapegoat for the Western World to get that country's natural resources IE Oil, Platinum, maybe Gold. Libya is an oil rich country. So people think hard when you think religion is the root.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  13. Foo Daddy

    There are lots of videos and images on the web of Muslims dissing Westerners or Jews and their symbology. Also a lot of videos and images of Korans being burned or defaced, or innocent westerners being beheaded. Taking some personal affront to the point of murder has nothing to do with burning or defacing the Koran, it's another example of the extremist Muslims running wild. Other religions do it too, it's just that most Jews and Christians have modernized while many Muslims are still stuck in the 12th century. If you're "over there" you have to be extremely careful.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  14. American Christian

    Jones should be held accountable for his actions. Obviously those who committed the killing hold more accountability. But Jones knew full well radicals would respond with violence. This idiot should be dropped in some random location in Afghanistan...

    April 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Albasneeze

      I do concur!!

      April 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  15. Joseph

    Burning a holy book, regardless of religion, is no excuse for murder of innocents. This only reinforces the ministers point. Clerics of the Islamic world must come to grips with the notion of free expression. Afghanistan too needs democracy with freedom of religion. Clerics who incite violence should be tried and convicted.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  16. OhBrother!

    I just love all the Islamo-fascist lovers here on CNN where they condemn this idiotic pastor for burning a work of fiction yet say nothing about the uncivilized third-worlders murdering people having nothing to do with the event. You people are as sick and twisted as this pastor. Something's seriously wrong with you people.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Thank you! Finally someone with a brain!

      April 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • NZNZNZ

      two wrongs do not make a right

      April 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • American Christian

      Nobody here has espoused support for the killing of these innocent people. But I think you're missing the point. We are a country founded under the pretense of freedom of religion. Many of our countries forefathers arrived on our shores fleeing religious persecution. In this light, the amount of anti-muslim rhetoric I see these days concerns me. To unnecessarily exacerbate religious tensions by doing something like publicly burning a Quran, is an asinine thing to do and an offense to those of us who take pride in being American...

      April 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  17. NoReligion

    Terry Jones better hope he's wrong about hell. Because if it does exist, I think he'll be spending a long time there.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  18. bradley bleck

    Clearly these actions were carried out knowing violence was very likely to result. Sounds like "fightin' words" to me, unprotected speech.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  19. BrAlan

    This is not a pastor of any Christian faith I know. It sound like he may be getting a bit senile in his old age and may be a danger to himself and his family. Pray for the repose of souls that died in Pakistan, that those that did the killing find forgiveness and repent for their sin and that the people of Dove Outreach find the love of Christ and not the hatred of man.

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

      This man is not senile. Don't make excuses.

      This is what he believes.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  20. tom

    I can not see how burning a book justfies killing people .So if them good upstanding muslim radicals burn a bible or burn a budda statue we can start killing muslims? Wow ! This is why cnn and msnbc are going to be dinosaurs they are so un American .They would side with radicals than free speech and the USA.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • LC

      But I can see how the Pastor could have predicted the result which is what makes his actions inexcusable. If you know that doing something is almost certain to get other people killed and you still go ahead, then you may as well as have done it yourself.

      That does excuse those who carried it out. It simply includes the Pastor as also being culpable for the murder of innocents.

      For shame on someone who professes to be a Christian. For shame!

      April 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • marco pollo

      this idiot floridian pastor needs to be executed in the name of religion...I live in Florida and I cant believe we have such of idiot pastors in this country...
      because of him innocent people died...he knew better that those fanatics in the middle east will kill innocent christians..
      HE COULD HAVE BURNED IT WITHOUT ANYONE KNOWING IT..IN HIS BACK YARD...
      IF i WOULD BE ONE OF HIS FELLOW CHURCH MEMBERS I WOULD RUN AWAY ASAP.
      HE IS NOT A TRUE WORSHIPER.
      GOD SAVE THOSE SOULS. amin.

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

      I can't see how anyone can read a Bible or a Quran and take any of it seriously in the first place.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • A faithful Christian

      Burning the Quran is like burning a Bible to Christians. Having said that, it is not an excuse to murder. It is an outrage that this person Jones declares himself a Christian and a Pastor. I would like to apologize to the true followers of Islam .... Not all Islamists are the terrorists or murderers in the name of Islam. I am a Christian, and I truly try and not judge anyone. I certainly am not filled with hate as this person Mr Jones seems to be. If you don't believe, have a different faith, gay, straight, black, white...whatever, I'm not going to judge you. That is GODs job. Most Christians I know feel the same way. And I am very proud Christian and American....but come on, live and let live. why all the judging and hate?

      April 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • H. B.

      Have you forgotten that the Taliban, between 9/11 and the invasion, destroyed a very large, ancient and beautiful statue of Buddha? The world begged them not to. Museums offered to come, dismantle it and reassemble it when they got home. None of this fazed them in the least; they shattered it. Were there religious repercussions? Did some faith, like Buddhism, rise up and slaughter people over this outrage? And it WAS an outrage. The Taliban knew it was an outrage, and that's WHY they did it.

      Muslims are now demanding that this dufus pastor be arrested for terrorism. Whaa? Whom did he terrorize? Whose life did he threaten? He's just a dumb hick who only knows he hates Islam and knows some of the things about it that he hates.

      Yet Muslims killed and killed and killed because of what the dufus did. That tells us the knee-jerk response of Muslims to any small offense. In burning the Quran, the dufus had just insulted the MANHOOD of every male Muslim. He probably didn't know that, but that's how it was.

      The Quran is accepted fully, by both Sunni and Shi'ite. No person can BE a Muslim without accepting the religious texts of Islam in full. There can BE no thing as a "moderate" Muslim, because Islam is absolutist and allows no wiggle room for such frivolities. It's like a light switch, on or off. You either are a Muslim, in full, or you're no Muslim at all. Which, in some places, can get you killed.

      Islam is all about manliness. Its supremely warlike nature is that way because Islam (the prophet, that is) deemed war to be manly. It was also quite convenient for the prophet, since his believers would fight his battles of conquest with a fervor that no amount of simple loyalty can generate. He invented this "religion" to serve his own purposes, and it worked beautifully for him. He didn't care two potatoes if it survived him. But it DID, and the reason is because Islam bastes human males' sense of manliness with utter completeness. That makes it irresistible to males, and triply so for the inadequate ones.

      Islam demands respect, while earning none. We are supposed to respect them, since they are Muslims: "the superior people." We do NOT owe them either respect or tolerance – NONE. A religion whose believers think their deity demands that I deserve to be slaughtered gets NO respect from this kid. Silly me.

      CNN, like most major media, have bought into the "peace and tolerance" of Islam, and the "moderation" of most Muslims. They are obligated to uphold respect and tolerance for religions – which puts them into a quandary, but it's all the easier to be tolerant of Islam because of the oil.

      These nations rising up today are not "rebels" the way we think of them. They are jihadis, part of a well organized plan among Muslim leaders to take over the whole world. THIS is the prime directive of Islam, after all, and today there is a real chance that they can pull it off. That's why millions of Muslims, who hate us and our cultures, come to live with us anyway – to be ready to take over the countries they're in when the call to jihad comes, and Muslims rise up in all the European countries simultaneously. Having new Islamic states such as Libya and Egypt, within a hair's breadth of Europe will help insure total conquest. And conquest is manly.

      Why do so many Muslims flock to our lands? To them, everything about us and our cultures is blasphemous. Yet they come. Ask yourself why, and then look at how they are setting up nearby nations with large Muslim populations (Libya and Egypt particularly) to turn them into Islamic States. What do you THINK will happen, with them right offshore and the European countries glutted with Muslim "immigrants"?

      Isn't there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Like tolerance for a predatory world view like Islam?

      April 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Theoderic

      Colin: that's the difference between being sane & insane!

      April 5, 2011 at 3:58 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.