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. atheist

    only a church full of religious nuts would come up with an idea as sick as this

    August 21, 2010 at 4:12 am |
  2. Nikki

    These self-proclaimed patriots we're seeing on the news seem to forget that many peaceful and patriotic Muslims were murdered at ground zero, too. Islam is, in fact, a peaceful religion.. not a murderous one. It is unfair to try to taint the image of an entire religious group of people because of select few with twisted interpretations and murderous intentions. This is despicable.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:11 am |
  3. ufadoof

    “I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.” -Thomas Jefferson

    August 21, 2010 at 4:11 am |
  4. MAK

    Reading the article and the blogs that followed, I can't stop but draw the analogy with Pearl Harbor and the feeling of most Americans toward the Japanese... The lesson to learn from that episode is that hatred only generates more hatred. Just remember Rwanda.... On September 11, someone will burn the Koran, and next someone will burn the bible, which will for sure push for more actions...
    At the end of the day, we are all sons of Adam...

    August 21, 2010 at 4:08 am |
  5. Ronen

    I don't care if I sound offensive, if they made Burn A Quran day a national Holiday I would celebrate it with passion every single year... There's NOTHING in either the Old or New Testament that says ANYTHING about "kill the muslims if they do not convert", yet somehow all the passages in this sociopathic book some gang leader wanted to write and call it a "religion" is totally ok to say that it's a Muslim's DUTY to "slay the infidels where they lay"...?? I'm usually all against burning any form of literature, but this is the exception, This book is evil, the person who wrote it is evil, and any person defending it is either in complete denial or completely wanting to deceive the "infidels" of the original motives in their truest context when they were written as such... Burn baby burn, I'm not going to apologize for burning any book written by a man who took the hand of a 6 year old in marriage before he died. If Mohammed were alive today and tried to write this same book, he would have been locked up in a state penitentiary and never heard from again, and you KNOW this is the truth...

    August 21, 2010 at 3:47 am |
  6. Al

    Does the loony reverend know that he is only going to be burning "copies" of the Koran and not the original? Bound paper is not what makes up the holy books. Rather, it is the words, their correct intended meaning and correct actions that make the books holy. May Allah be with you Rev, careful not to burn yourself.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:45 am |


    August 21, 2010 at 3:38 am |
  8. Chris

    Then they are un-american as they come.... and they can get out of my country ! Part of being an American is diversity ... FOr a better way of life, to escape religious persecution and start a new. NOt hate !!! freagin idots .... And real Christians preach love and forgiveness not hate and "smitting the WIcked !!!! " And of course they think if they wrap it in our country's flag that makes it acceptable. Imagine if they started burn the bible day internationally , people here would flip out. Let's just burn these idiots instead ... And I know I'm sure they'll say in response "they burn our bibles" , not yet but they will if you keep this stupid stuff up , two WRONGS ....DON'T make a right ! P.s dont come to TX we dont want ya'll hateful people here ...

    August 21, 2010 at 3:25 am |
    • freewoman

      if you stacked the Torah, bible, Koran together.. will they burn each other? why not?

      wonder if you added a science book in the stack.. would they all burn the science book?

      August 21, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  9. Billy Jack

    Where do the Christians buy all these Qurans to burn? Surely by doing this they are giving money to the Muslims they hate so much? or do they steal them from Muslim hotel chains? it would be supreme irony if they bought it from a shop that helped fund terrorists.

    I've always thought a easy way to make money would be to open a flag shop in the Pakistan, Palestine etc. selling Danish, US, , Israeli, British flags pre-soaked in gasoline for the next protest. You could also sell fake bibles, torahs, Obama effegies, kindling, matches etc. I've seen the local handmade flags they torch and they are just not up to scratch, 23 stars 8 stripes etc....little attention to detail. These people are crying out for help. To drum up business in the slow times the shop just has to spread a little desent and mis-information.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:22 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      bad business idea. bad bad business idea. cause some nutto is going to come along and simply blow up the whole shop with all those different kaffir flags in there. instead of burning each one at a time, the nutto is going to figure why not take the easy route, blow the whole thing up in one go and get multiple hoories in heaven without having to do multiple the work. bad business idea.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:38 am |
  10. KG

    When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, non-Japanese Americans on the West Coast and across the United States called the Japanese Americans traitors and said that all Japanese AMERICANS were alike, had ulterior motives, and could not be trusted. The Japanese Americans on the West Coast were rounded up–not just first generation immigrants, but second and third generation American-born CITIZENS–and put into internment camps: the will of the people. I read a survey recently from 1943 in which, out of 1548 responses, two people said that the Japanese Americans should be allowed to leave the internment camps, both indicating that they should only on good behavior. The rest demanded that they remain in captivity, and possibly be deported after the war. This is what happens when hysteria and hate gets the better of a nation.

    It is NOT right to judge an entire group of people because of the actions of a few. Neither is it okay to sum up an entire religion (one of the world's largest, might I add) in the terms dictated by a radical minority. We need to learn from our past, and not act irrationally in the present. To anybody who burns Qurans on September 11, you are the shame of America.

    I have faith in the people of this nation, and expect that they'll be able to stay level headed, see people as people, and refrain from participating in what will only tarnish our nation's image. Please think before you foster hate, as both sides will go down in the history books.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:19 am |
  11. Jonesey

    Maybe all Qurans AND Bibles should be burned... every last one of them. Then, perhaps, we could look past all the intolerance, fear mongering, and polarization of their teachings and actually begin to all get along.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:17 am |
    • freewoman

      it would be better if each burned their own copy of their own myth, when they realize it is just a book of hate.

      burning a mythic book another's myth.. solves nothing. burning your own sets your mind free..

      August 21, 2010 at 3:37 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      maybe you should nt make it so obvious that Hitler was your grandfather.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:39 am |
  12. Devon of Texas


    People say "Ready the Quran, its filled with hate and murder" Well have you ever read the bible? It practically tells you who to kill (which is pretty much everbody) and how to do it! If the Quran is so evil, then the bible is just as much.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:13 am |
  13. Ridingbike

    Ladies & Gentlemen: Once again we have demonstrated to the world that some of our fellow Americans are ignorant, intolerant, naive, closed-minded, ingenious, and credulous. It is so embarrassing...

    August 21, 2010 at 3:11 am |
  14. Allen

    Thank God there are still people in this Country who are not afraid to stand up for what this Nation was founded upon, and reject the invasion of destructive ideas and false religions that threaten to destroy it.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:10 am |
  15. Roger

    don't throw out the bible yet, just reject what men try to make it say. It is a supernatural book.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:10 am |
  16. 3ssam

    A moslim

    Out of the million of things I would love to be able to enlighten most of you with,
    Ill just choose one subject. I'm not sure exactly how arabs/moslims are being
    Portrayed in america or anywhere in general, but I went to an internatiol school
    In the middle-east, where the school principle was american, and the teachers there
    Were of christian, moslim and athiest religons. As a moslim, I used to sleep over
    In a christian friends house, and he used to sleep over at my house. His parent
    Were friends with my parents. And not once was anyone in qatar(where I lived) ever
    Treated diffrent because of there religon, the christians did hate us, and we did not
    Hate them, we both accepted each other, and believed in our own faith.
    On fridays I would go to my morning prayer in a mosque, and on sundays my
    Mate would go to morning church. All this is because we practiced both our teachings
    Properly, and for all those who were asking; if I would ever see anyone torching
    Or misusing a bible or cross, or whatever, I would stop them, just as I would do if
    Someone who is misusing the quran.
    P.s for all those who have been misguided by american media, instead of pointing fingers
    Try talking to one of the people you are pointing at. I'm sure we've all been
    Taught this when we were younger, that we should always hear both sides
    Of the story. And that's what I've done. You will not regret doing the same.
    And ramadan kareem everyone.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:09 am |
  17. EM

    Dove Church, are you also going to burn the Talmud?

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up."

    August 21, 2010 at 3:09 am |
  18. Muslim guy

    Why can they do this freely? They should be arrested under hate crimes.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:07 am |
    • peace2all

      @Muslim guy

      They can do this because it is not illegal to burn a book. Albeit, I am assuming it is your holy book. You can burn as many bibles as you like or not.

      I am truly sorry for the way a good many of the people posting here have taken to so much hate and mis-understanding of Islam, and any other religion other than Christianity for that matter.

      I hope that this event does not happen.....

      Peace to you....

      August 21, 2010 at 3:21 am |
    • freewoman

      burning paper is not a hate crime.... it is a freedom...

      August 21, 2010 at 3:30 am |
    • freewoman

      if god want the fire out, let him put it out...will never happen. there are no gods...

      August 21, 2010 at 3:32 am |
  19. John

    Mr. Pastor Terry Jones you actions leave me with the impression you're reading from the very same version of "Koran" you're planning on burning. The one according to you that justifies vengeance, revenge, hate and anger. I believe you have lost your way.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:04 am |
    • peace2all


      Well said...


      August 21, 2010 at 3:11 am |
  20. Roger

    Since God can do what God wants to with God's own creation, and nobody has more power than God to stop God, nobody
    will ever succeed in making God look stupid when finally standing before God at the time of God's final judgement of that person.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:04 am |
    • freewoman

      we all have the power to stop the god wars.. just kill the gods and not the people.

      god's don't kill their people do... by order of the priest...

      August 21, 2010 at 3:28 am |
    • PeasantMob


      Burn the witch! Burn the witch!

      [roger was turned into a newt]

      August 21, 2010 at 3:35 am |
    • peace2all

      @ Roger

      Again.... What the F*** ????

      August 21, 2010 at 3:46 am |
    • freewoman

      that final holy judgment thing is a very funny concept.
      did that cow who's meat was my hamburger for lunch face that same judgment?

      holy cow... I ate a holy cow...

      Or is that just for Hindus?

      August 21, 2010 at 4:00 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.