August 20th, 2010
05:10 PM ET

Religious leaders speak out against International Burn a Quran Day

Religious leaders in Gainesville, Florida, have planned a Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope, in response to a local church's International Burn a Quran Day.

"We feel compelled to raise our voices to proclaim that the action the Dove World Outreach Center is proposing is absolutely wrong and counter to the life and teaching of the Jesus whom we love, follow and call savior and Lord," Senior Minister Dan Johnson of Trinity United Methodist Church said, in a note posted on his church's website Wednesday.

As part of the Gainesville Interfaith Forum - made up of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus - Trinity Church will host the event September 10, the notice said, the night before the planned Quran burning.

"Our goal is to foster understanding, mutual respect and peace, while recognizing and appreciating our own particular faith understandings," Johnson said.

The nondenominational Outreach Center said it will host the Quran-burning event on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The group said it will remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, the city of Gainesville denied a burn permit to the center, said Bob Woods, City of Gainesville spokesman.

"It was a question of public safety," said Woods. "The Gainesville Fire Department has notified the center through a letter," he said.

But that isn't stopping the church. The Gainesville Sun reported that, in an e-mail newsletter sent out Wednesday, the church announced: "City of Gainesville denies burn permit - BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS."

Gene Prince, the interim chief of Gainesville Fire Rescue, told the Sun on Wednesday that under the city's fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed. He said if the church goes ahead with its plan, it will be fined.

And the church's intentions aren't the issue. "It wouldn't matter what the book is they're burning," Deputy Chief Tim Hayes told the Sun.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez last month.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.

On the church's website, a section details "Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran."

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the month-long fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

"American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in the release.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest umbrella evangelical group, issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions.

"The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect," it said in the statement.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Church • Florida • Islam • Quran • United States

soundoff (1,223 Responses)
  1. Americano

    Stumble on this today and made me think...hummmmmmm


    August 21, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  2. IronRider

    This just confirms my belief that the church today doesn't know God. Anyone who try's to force their own ideals and beliefs upon you is not an ambassador of any God I know.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  3. Fml

    I am muslim. Today reading this post will probobly ruin this whole month. Ok guys who are christians osama bin laden deserves to die every muslim except people like al quida will agreee with me. Let me remind you that 400 ppl that died in 9/11 including my uncle and i cry almost every day that people will understand. Imagine people burning bibles this is absoultley ridoculus what the hell seriously i think this church is not a church and is a devils nest

    August 21, 2010 at 1:38 am |
    • George

      That church is a little fringe element of Christian society, just like your Osama and the downtown boys. You should speak out as much against your own rotten apples as you do about ours.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:05 am |
  4. without a name

    Here is the Quran... read it without prejudice, without an agenda towards biasness, read it only with want of understanding. Then you might have a right to speak your mind, negatively or positively.. Anything less is mere ignorance, a vocalization akin to terrified sheep bleating against their own shadow in moonlight.

    If you must skim, I suggest searching and reading what is written of Jesus or Moses and you'll find for a Muslim to hate either is against the teachings of the Quran.


    Understand, as well, the world as you know it would not exist without Islam. When Rome burned, it was the Muslims who preserved the great thinkers of the past, from Herodotus to Socrates, Plato and Pythagoras... It was the Muslims who advanced our the collective human understanding of Chemistry (Alchemy), Astronomy and Math.

    Understand that the Burqa and Hijab are artificats of cultural relevance, not religious. One need only look to the pictures of women in the recent flooding of Pakistan...

    Understand that the largest majority of Muslims are not in the Mid East but in Indonesia...

    Understand you laughed with a Muslim when you watched Dave Chappelle (A Muslim).

    Understand that instances of villainy is not specific to one religion but is, in fact, shared by many... and that those that wield their anger under a religious banner are likely, the least knowledgeable proponents of their faith.

    Misconception and the propagation of hate or the symptoms of a fearful mind. To alleviate fear, you must illuminate the mind. To know the truth, know that all is illusory...

    August 21, 2010 at 1:38 am |
    • George

      Old books do not a person make.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:08 am |
  5. I am a human

    Muslims didn't kill people in Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cuba, German Jews, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, .... etc.
    Have you ever asked yourself why the terrorists selected American towers not France towers or Japan?

    You taking up our lands, killing us and burning our books and when someone defending about himself, you call him a terrorist.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  6. scorpio

    I know Islam is fundamentalist and today a synonym for terrorism. And I totally hate their attitude and ignorance and respect for other religion. But it surprises me equally when I hear this from Christans or Americans!
    You name a terrorist outfit and I'll show you how America was behind creating that organization whether it was Taliban, dictatorship of Saddam husain or several terrorists in Pakistan. US has supported them with arms and ammunition and money for their gain! It was Christan and USA that used the only nuclear weapon in the world history! and today they are threatened by nuclear enabled countries? what rubbish? The only difference between Islam and Christan as I see is that former is illiterate, uneducated group while the later is an educated, shrewd, cruel, powered group. So, powerful that it kills thousands and name it as war( Iraq, Afghanistan or world wars..or the several cold wars its sponsoring throughout the world)..while the Muslims all it jihad with their limited resources.

    As a third person, I dont see any difference..for me both are terrorists! both are unhuman!

    August 21, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  7. freewoman

    WE burned bras in the 60s we can burn burkas in 2010 and beyond.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:36 am |
  8. A Hinud

    Someone said above that legally they can burn the koran , but morally they should not. I agree. Same way, they shouldn't build a mosque near ground zero. Its just so immoral. What I dont understand is that muslims choose to ignore other's emotion. When People do not want a mosque near ground zero, muslims need to respect their views and take the mosque somewhere else. Hypocrisy at its best. Islam is certainly not a religion of peace as they say. No other religion in the world has so much extremism.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:35 am |
  9. Pushtoon


    August 21, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  10. Don

    If there is ANY negative reaction due to anyone's anger over their Holy Book being burned, the Pastor should be held accountable for inciting the incident. Pastor Jones is doing nothing shy than igniting the already burning flames of hatred and ignorance. Points to consider: 1: Islam stands for the unity and brotherhood of mankind, and not for disrupting the oneness of the human family. 2: The very word Islam means peace, which is nonviolence.

    I wish I could take credit for these quotes, but Mohandas Ghandi said them first.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • Shushumna

      islam means 'submission' and not 'peace'. Gandhi was a hindu and not a muslim. He may have said many flowery things abuot islam- he even supported the caliphate movement against the secularist Kemal Ataturk. Gandhi was trying to unite the hindus and muslims against the british imperialism then.
      O BTW i am trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, the books says it should fit perfectly but it doesn't! I guess I shall keep trying until it eventually fits in. I face the same problem with Islam and world peace..

      August 21, 2010 at 2:52 am |
  11. www.wakeup

    TAKE THE TIME YOU USE WATCHING THE BOOB TUBE.And trade that wasted time and do a good thing.Here's and old old American saying Actions speak LOUDER than WORDS.And here's a Bible verse A fool is known by his/her many words.And another one .A fool and his money are sooon parted. Love your neighbor as thy self.You are your brothers keeper,muslim,christian,jew,seike,hindu,buddhist non religious etc.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:31 am |
  12. Mark

    You can read more about this hate group at: http://www.doveworld.org/
    They sound like terrorists to me...Where is Homeland Security when you need them?
    Perhaps the IRS needs to suspend their tax free status and have them start paying taxes as they are now making political endorsements.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  13. Pushtoon

    Ignorance is a bliss. Sad 2 see the darkages lurk in florida in 21st century, still burning books!!! May Allah forgive them, Amen

    August 21, 2010 at 1:27 am |
  14. Soldier777

    "We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times,"

    This statement is so true; however the Qur'an should not be burned. It should be studied, so people can understand how Mohamed was a murdering, lying, wicked, perverted, thieving dictator, and not a holy man.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  15. epicurious

    why not, they have the right to express themselves as they see fit. I regularly use the new testament as a fire starter, they are generally infused with incense and smell nice.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:24 am |

    Islam was born from an affair, and the child is therefore illegitimate. So the whole book is based on a guy who coundn't keep it in his pants and then had a boy that he crowned into deity–the problem was that the kid had an inferiority complex, kind of like Napoleon, Hitler and the rest of the worlds despots. Now the story goes that anyone who disagrees is an infidel! WHAT A JOKE this farce of a religion is. THERE IS NO RELIGION IN MODERN TIMES (THAT MEANS NOW) THAT ESPOUSES THE HATRED THAT ISLAM AND IT'S CASTS OF CHARTACTORS ESPOUSE. EVEN DURING THE CRUSADES, IT WASN'T THE CHURCHES– IT WAS THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT ORDERING THE CONVERSIONS OR DEATH. WITH ISLAM, THOSE COUNTRIES WHO EMBRACE THIS IDEAOLOGY ACTUALLY EMBODY THE BELIEF SYSTEMS AND ORDER MURDER, MAYHEM, AND DEGRADATION OF ITS WOMEN. HEY - ANYONE WANT SOME POPRK RIBS? SOUNDS GREAT!

    August 21, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  17. Can't Wait

    I can't wait! For the day is soon coming when Americans really discover the TRUE nature of Islam. If you do not believe that Muhammad is prophet of Allah you are an enemy of Islam and the Koran teaches it is ok to kill…. If you doubt this you need only to read it.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:23 am |
    • George

      I believe you. I'm signing up today. Just call me Ali Ali Infree.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  18. Religion Rots your Brain

    Oh man, this is getting good! The racists and bigots are FLYING from out of the woodwork, all in the name of a make-believe god. The religious fanatics that are sounding off these days are no different or better than the Taliban. Agree with me or I'll slit your throat, pretty much. If you're not like me I'll say you're a muslim. Burn bibles too, I say! Religion stops a thinking brain and this is proof.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  19. dongfanghong

    The only solution is to burn every religious text ever, and live like a real civilization.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:20 am |
    • GINNY sue


      August 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  20. Robert Kent

    This "pastor" is as much of a donkey butt as the goon who ordered the destruction of the WTC.

    He should be defrocked.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:18 am |
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About this blog

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.