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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. TheAncientOne

    Remember the Triforce in the Legend of Zelda? Judaism, Christianity, Islam. they have different characteristics but they all are part of one whole, which is the belief in the Abrahamic monotheist God. Just amazed how people have become so attached to the their humanly organized religion and book and rituals code of conduct that they lose sight of what is important. For Christians that dis islam, you should know that they revere christ as a prophet of god. just like they revere mohamed. Muslims that disrespect Christ are being hypocrites because they are insulting Gods prophet. Muslims calling people of these faiths infidels, I don't understand. They are believing this God of Abraham are they not? Seeing how these 3 religion are fighting and spilling blood and teaching people to blindly believe their dogma about who knows God best, its no wonder why people are no longer religious.
    Wasn't organized religion, originally,suppose to provide spiritual insight to people? Somewhere along the line it got mixed up with power, prestige, and influence. and forgot why the institution was created. May have worked when human society was in the dark ages, but in the age of information and scientific reasoning telling people to believe something without logic and reason is not going to cut it. Maybe being spiritual is what the maker intended all along?

    August 21, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  2. Rachel

    I definitely support free speech, but this is of very poor taste. As a Jew, how would I feel about International Burn the Torah Day? As a fellow Semitic, I am going to side with the Muslims on this one. There is right and wrong, and this is clearly wrong and is just making Christianity look ignorant and backwards instead of progressive. The entire pretext of this planned act is embarrassingly ignorant.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:15 am |
    • Kate

      @Rachel

      Don't feel left out, they were asked to burn the Torah too and have agreed to toss a few copies in while they're at it. Equal opportunity crazies?

      August 21, 2010 at 2:37 am |
  3. Mark NYC

    As much as I think this bunch of rednecks deserve nothing but comtempt for their sheer ignorance, lets not forget ignorance is a 2 way street. If you arrive in Saudi Arabia they will search your luggage for Bibles or Torahs which will be confiscated and destroyed.
    And lets not forget the ancient buddist statues that the Taliban blew up with dynamite a few years ago because they werent Muslim.

    Respect and tolerance for othefrs beliefs and practices has to be a 2 way street or keep your mouth shut to start with.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  4. George

    Your grandchildren will live under Sharia law in the United States unless you put an end to Islamic immigration, as a war measure, not as religious discrimination. A temporary war measure, just as we didn't allow "moderate" Nazis to immigrate to the U.S. during World War II. God knows our government has called this thing a war for the last ten years, so it must be a war.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  5. Tony L

    It;s sad to see fellow Americans can sink this low as to burn a religious book KORAN to show their hate towards Islam. It will definitely not do any good instead fan the fire of hatred further. What is the difference between these so called Christian followers of the Church wanting to burn KORAN and TALIBAN (an ignorant uneducated twisted believers of Islam). What's amazing is that most of the people make comments without really studying the history of Islam. Peace can only come with understanding and tolerance among the pluralistic society. The ignorance is the enemy for all peoples.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:11 am |
  6. moe

    I guess if they really do it, they're just starting a new war, and the first person they goin 2 look after is the person who made this dumb idea up.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:09 am |
  7. Khondakar Golam Mowla

    Please visit following page to know power of Islam:

    http://www.al-baz.com/shaikhabdalqadir/

    August 21, 2010 at 2:04 am |
  8. Indy.colts

    People need to learn that history of Super Powers has come and gone. They need to learn not to burn bridges with other countries..Which US has started doing since it gained power. This is not the Wild Wild west of Texas anymore...Obama has started to send the country in the Right direction final;y, contrary to all the Red Necks and all the Whites with Money..The Middle class whites know what Obama stands for regarding people around the world...IF US wants to stay with Elite, they need to work with other countries, not isolate it. US only has so much mineral product before it run out...you cant go attack all the countries and take their shi*

    August 21, 2010 at 2:04 am |
  9. Margie

    A response to some of the things people are saying on this Board.

    Allegation: Muslims hide Osama bin Ladin so deserve what they get. I grew up in a poor neighborhood filled with various gangs. Gang leaders always delegated their heinous acts to the young recruits who signed up because they thought being in a gang would provide some stability and safety. Once those young recruits committed those heinous acts there was no turning back. And so the gang leader had his gang and they helped hide him from going to prison. But what of the neighbors who were just trying to live in the area? We lived in a state of fear and so didn't ever testify about what we saw if we wanted to be spared the attention and punishment of the gang leaders. I doubt that Osama's power is derived from anything less than the most base behavior we see from U.S. street gangs. So should we punish the entire neighborhood for their unfortunate existance in a hellish place run by a gangster? Should we assume all people of color are gangsters, no matter where they live, since the ones in my neighborhood were mostly minorities of some type? I think most people would see that as bigotted.

    As for Muslims clerics not speaking out, that is false. Even the Muslim posters here speak out against terrorism and the response they get is that Islam is evil and condones this action. So why do you ask for Muslims to condemn terrorism if you have no intention of accepting that they actually do? You don't want anyone to change your mind about what you think you know based on soundbites from Islamaphobes. You thrive on hating Muslims, and ostracizing them instead of accepting the Muslims who only want peace.

    Finally, posters repeatedly state that Christians do not kill people in the name of their God like Muslims. But Americans do kill people in the name of their country. Does it matter what the source of your "right to kill" comes from? We don't have to go back to the time of the Crusades to see that there are heinous acts done by Americans while in the service of the military. Or even ordinary American citizens who have assaulted Muslims throughout our country based on a warped sense of patriotism. Also, the notion that we have the right to invade a country at our will because we are America is all too present. So, let's compare apples to apples. Most Americans don't believe in their Christian faiths as much as they believe in their patriotism for the US. A lot of Americans find it shocking that Muslims would put their faith in God before their country because most Christian Americans would not put their faith before country. Therefore American patriotism is more equivalent to Muslim faith. What do we do in the name of the U.S.A? We bomb, we kill, we take revenge. Are we so different from our enemies in that respect? As Americans we should be more responsible and learn from our misery that blanket hatred does nothing but create pain; not just for our enemies, but for ourselves as well.

    Full Disclosure: I am Muslim and I am American (born and raised). I condemn all act of terrorism, no matter who commits it. Is my condemnation enough for you?

    August 21, 2010 at 2:03 am |
    • Kate

      @Margie

      You shouldn't have to. It *should* be taken for granted.

      This is the problem when dealing with fundamentalists – Muslim *or* Christian.

      Everything is in balance – For Al Awlaki, we have Glenn Beck. For Al Zawahiri, we have Rush Limbaugh. For the kids who go to the fundamentalist madrassahs, we have Fox News. For every imam going from masjid to masjid preaching extremism, we have people like the Jones'.

      Fundamentalists are the same, only the names change – the religion is an afterthought, a pretense. They don't believe in their religion – they only believe in their own egos, as the "chosen ones".

      No-one knows who is chosen, or if there even is a God, for sure until they're dead. It's unfortunate that there are some on either side who are in such a hurry to find out they want the world to burn

      The sad part is, people will refuse to believe that they're being programmed by fundamentalists simply because if they don't, then they have to accept that there are Muslims being similarly programmed by *their* fundamentalists. Likewise, neither fundamentalist faction can tolerate moderates in their midst because then they may have to face themselves in the mirror and find their unreasoning hated staring back at them, and not like themselves much.

      Bin Laden is laughing his ass off right now because *we*, Americans, are doing his job for him. *We* are giving the fundamentalists the excuses they can warp to radicalize Muslims. *We* are surrendering the Constitution. *We* are cowering in our homes afraid of the "shadow of Islam" just as much as he is cowering in a cave in Pakistan afraid of the shadow of Predator drones.

      And all he had to do was persuade 19 fools to fly planes into three buildings and a field. As far as guerrilla warfare is concerned, they're going to be analyzing and writing books about him for decades.

      It's called terrorism for a reason – and it's working. He's turned Americans against Americans, and people like the Jones' are coming out of the woodwork just like any khariji imam. He understood us better than we understand ourselves, as a nation.

      We have met the enemy – and the enemy is us.

      This is America. Either the things the country was founded upon are strong enough to stand strong even when they are *not* convenient (amongst those are the right to freedom of religion, and innocent unless proven guilty. Those alone should have been enough to not "demand" a condemnation) – or everything America was founded upon was a lie.

      The question is, when will things reach critical mass? When will it be too late to undo all the radicalization of Muslims, of Christians, all dancing to the tune of egomaniacs on either side, and put the brakes on this decline?

      August 21, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  10. Khondakar Golam Mowla

    Please visit following page to know Islam:

    http://www.dargahajmer.com/

    August 21, 2010 at 2:02 am |
  11. Khondakar Golam Mowla

    Ask this devil to visit and know Islam:

    http://www.al-baz.com/shaikhabdalqadir/

    August 21, 2010 at 2:00 am |
  12. 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.

    http://al-quran.info/?x=y#&&sura=1&aya=1&trans=en-yusuf_ali&show=both,quran-uthmani&ver=2.00

    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 are not specific to one religion but are, 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 are the symptoms of a fearful mind. To alleviate fear, you must illuminate the mind. To know the truth, know that all is illusory... Faith is the belief in what cannot be proven. If you believe that God does not exist, it is still faith. To know the truth is to know you know nothing.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:00 am |
  13. Will

    Here is the simple thing and it is a great time cause both sides are in the news:

    Muslims want to build Mosque and they claim their rights say they can.

    Some people want to burn some books which is also their right but no one wants to stand up for them.

    Obama is right the constitution is clear, but it is also clear on the book burning.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  14. George

    The die is cast, and the conflict between Islam and the civilized world cannot be ignored for what it is. When you hear their holy men issue public death by assassination orders on international media broadcasts, for innocent people, such as the young female American cartoonist, and then listen for the response to this from Muslims in America, there is none. Threats on the lives of the creators of South Park from right here within the United States. Can you not see where this is headed? We of like mind ask for a grassroots movement to end Muslim immigration to the United States. Not on the basis of religious persecution or discrimination, but as a temporary war measure. I'm sure that during World War II, we didn't allow immigration of "moderate" Nazis. So all of you like minded Americans call, email, write your congressmen and ask for this to be taken up.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  15. Lee Oates

    Its nice to see a spark of sanity on behalf of Americans. Thank you for your efforts.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:53 am |
  16. Sydney Australia

    From BBC News:

    Amnesty International has urged Saudi authorities to stop any attempt to medically paralyse a man as a judicial punishment.
    A Saudi judge is reported to have asked hospitals if it is possible to cut the spinal cord of the man, found guilty of paralysing another man in a fight.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:52 am |
  17. Sydney Australia

    test

    August 21, 2010 at 1:51 am |
  18. www.wakeup

    freewoman,sharia law looks like the same mentaliy sort that happened in the 1800's here in the old west where they would hang or dragb you with a horse until you died whether guily or NOT.Some similarity..Hopefully Obama doesn't have that in the health reform MANdates...

    August 21, 2010 at 1:47 am |
  19. Sean

    I see the American flag, The Holy Bible, and all other sorts of things being burned in protest through out America every day on the news, are these people committing these acts being fined as well. The last Supreme Court decision I read said that burning of the American flag or any other flag or book was freedom of speech and could not be infringed upon.
    I totally disagree with this church burning the Koran, it is childish and stupid, but if the Supreme Court protects one, then it should protect the other. Seems to be a double standard.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:45 am |
    • BeckFastPaws

      The burning of a single flag, or book, is certainly guaranteed as freedom of speech. The burning of a large pile so that a safety hazard is created and requires the fire department to be on hand to ensure that it doesn't get out of control may still be free speech, yet the city should be reimbursed the cost of having the safety crew there. Hence, the fine.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:51 am |
  20. Peace Please

    To all God loving people, for one moment think of this, if you were in the presence of GOD, what would be your posting on this page? would a loving GOD like to see all this hatred on this page? We all created by the same GOD, we all belong to the same religion as GOD reveals it in stages for the same reason these hateful postings are on this page to educate us spiritually as we tend to miss use religion or best to make it what we want but not what GOD wants it to be. There is no limit to spiritual growth therefore we need the spiritual food and GOD provide it to us by renewing the same religion under different names with different laws to fit the time and match our capacity as humans to help us grow spiritually.

    Do you think putting down or hurting someone's feeling is a GODLY thing!!! Ask yourself, what would Jesus do? would Jesus burn a Quran? a Quran that says Jesus is of GOD and MOSES is of GOD, so if the Quran is bad then the statement about Jesus that he is of GOD would be bad too (1.5 billion Muslims believe in Jesus and Moses because of the Quran). Moses' law was an eye for an eye, Jesus' law was If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other then came the laws of Quran, if we examine these laws with respect to the location and the time they were revealed by GOD then we will understand that these laws were indeed revealed to deal with the issues the believers and prophets were facing at the time of revelation, GOD's law are mercy even if they are sometimes very harsh but He knows what is needed to deal with us humans. Examine the conditions that Prophet Muhammad was facing in the Arabian desert, Jesus did not have to deal with the same conditions, so the Islamic laws at that time were harsh to deal with what was going on in the Arabian desert, Muhammad had to deal with a situation totally different than what Jesus faced or Moses faced. We have laws that are harsher than others in this country to fit the crime and they are needed to be hard to deter the committing such a crime, so GOD's laws varied thru out history to deal with such conditions the prophets had to deal with.

    I'm not a Muslim but I do respect all religions and more than that I respect all humans as all create by GOD, and GOD loves His creation and His creation is perfect and worthy of respect, then why we want to humiliate and hurt each other, GOD created the others too!!!!

    Burning the Quran is a form of terror, terror takes different forms. To all, think of the GOLDEN RULE!!!!!! Jesus' message is about loving others and is unconditional love. So if we truly love Jesus or Muhammad then display it and act it and do not just say it. I'm wondering why we Americans are afraid that Islam will destroy us, are we so spiritually weak that we are so scared of Islam, if our faith so strong and true then there is nothing in this world can change it. Islam is not a threat to us, it is our ignorance is the true threat.

    I'm an Arab and I love my Arabic language but also I appreciate all other languages. So I speak Arabic and I believe in GOD and I'm not a Muslim but in my Arabic language GOD is called Allah and this is true if I was a Christian Arab too. So the word Allah belongs to ALL faiths not just for Muslims and simply means GOD.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:42 am |
    • freewoman

      read your bible.... it is all bout killing those who do not believe in that god too. It is about slavery. and oppression of women.
      trading one myth for another is like trading one drug for another.. you still hooked and not thinking for yourself.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • Realize these real lies

      Very Well Written... 2 thumbs up on that!!!! Nothing else will do...

      August 21, 2010 at 11:53 am |
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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.