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. John

    Typically a person gets from the bible or quran or gobbledegook what they are able to understand. If they already lack basic human decency and modern education and grow up in isolated conditions then you get your typical fundamentalist racist terrorist extremist nutjob that's not compatible with modern standards of sensible behavior.

    Don't focus on their religion. Focus on their environment and their education and exposure to other cultures. If they grow up in a diverse environment with a rich education that will help a full magnitude more than burning their religious book. If you look at the environment of extremists and fundamentalists the one common trait is isolation and lack of diversity. In many cases the fundamentalists will go to special schools and avoid liberal settings. This encourages their extremist views. If they grew up in a war torn country they would be strapping bombs to their bodies as well. It's the way of that world.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:42 am |
  2. US Army Vet

    Guess who I am ... I believe that the Islamic world is an accessory to the Korans being burned. Look let's be honest. Better burning books than carrying out violent atrocities ubiquitously against innocent people on a daily basis. (As the radical Muslims do) I do not believe the majority of Muslims wish to mend fences with Christian Americans. If they did they would have apologized for the Cordoba project and relocated. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see how excruciatingly provocative this is.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:30 am |
  3. Scott G

    Muslims burn the Christian Holy Bible –why can't we burn theirs ? Fair is fair.....

    August 21, 2010 at 5:28 am |
  4. Heather

    A book is just a copy of information. If one person on this planet still knows that information, then nothing has been lost. Spewing hatred is a sign of demonic possession. Maybe the people of the Dove World Outreach Center are not in control of themselves and we should be praying for them. Nonetheless, on behalf of publishers everywhere, I would like to suggest that you burn books- and then replace them.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:26 am |
  5. JohnUtah

    Islam is of the Devil? These Southern bred idiots are so ignorant and full of hatred, where the hell do they do get their information from? "(be good to) orphans and the very poor. And speak good words to people". (Surat al-Baqara: 83)

    People who consume the property of orphans wrongfully consume nothing in their bellies except fire. They will roast in a Searing Blaze. (Surat an-Nisa': 10)

    Have you seen him who belies the rewards and punishments of the Hereafter? He it is who drives away the orphan and does not urge giving away the food of the poor. (107:1 – 3)

    Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and the wayfarers. Do not squander your wealth wastefully; for those who squander wastefully are Satan's brothers, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. (17:26 – 27)

    The above are verses from thy Lord from the Quran, when was the last time you have heard of the Devil imploring the people to help the needy and the Orphans? That is one weird devil, LOL.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:21 am |
  6. JohnUtah

    Test Ping

    August 21, 2010 at 5:16 am |
  7. JohnUtah


    August 21, 2010 at 5:15 am |
  8. Islam_religion_of_terror

    Islam has destroy Europe. France, German, UK, Spain have lost their culture.In 2020 50% of the population in France will be Muslim..coming soon near you.

    Quoran is a bible of terror

    August 21, 2010 at 5:13 am |
  9. Gerald

    I propose having a BIBLE BURN event and I bet the fire would rage a lot bigger than with Quran. I was born into and raised a Christian, but I can give you a thousand reasons why we should burn the bible. One of them being that it was edited by the Vatican to make it foolproof and instill fear into anyone that questions it.
    There is NO GOD only crazy people.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:04 am |
  10. Mike

    I love it! On every Sept 11th from now on, I'm going to observe my remembrance by burning a Koran. It's normally a pretty sad day for me, and you wouldn't think such a senseless act of destruction would help, but the symbolism is really quite perfect and it's definitely going to raise my spirits. Thank you DWOC for the great suggestion! I won't be in FL in person, but I'll definitely be there in spirit!!

    August 21, 2010 at 5:04 am |
  11. SAFWAN


    August 21, 2010 at 5:00 am |
  12. salayem

    Samuel 15:3 Now go, and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' " That is the book which should be burned.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:55 am |
  13. Hassan

    Back in the old church days, when the Pope ruled the Christian world, many people were killed in the name of Jesus

    But this was not because Christianity was a violent religion, nor that Jesus asked for the destruction of the infidels, it was because some messed up minds that misinterpreted the bible either intentionally or unintentionally and chose to do so.

    A similar case is what happened in 9/11, it is not of Allah's ruling to kill innocent people, if you read Quran you will find that it explicitly mentions the freedom of religion, and just because some messed up minds does such a horrible action, does not mean that is it Islam that encouraged it.

    Religion, God, Allah, has always been misused by the ignorant and horrible things were done in their name, but they are innocent of our deeds.

    Instead of burning Quran, try to read it yourself, and don't just stop at some words that are taken out of context and blame Islam of being violent. You are then exactly like AL Qaeda’s people

    Any way, I wish you all the peace, But just remeber that when you burn Quran, you are not hurting Islam, you are just being as intolerant as Al Qaeda

    August 21, 2010 at 4:46 am |
  14. freewoman

    there is no peace in the god wars... never have been or never will.
    it is not about peace and love... it is about power of the myth makers.
    You see them all rally together when one is a target. that is because the have a common cause to keep the faith going... if you bash one they they are sure they will be next.

    It is not about one myth over the other.. but the power of one over the people.
    Those fools who were tricked to kill them selves on 911 were brainwashed by the myth leaders to do their dirty work. Brainwashed to believe that there is a super afterlife waiting for them to commit a horrible crime they would denounce it it was done to them or their own.
    This mythic trick has been part of the dirty secrete of myth making for a long long time. The myth is used to charge up the troops to battle. Roman's use to kill one of their own soldiers as a sacrifice to the enemies god before the battle to make sure that they would not anger him.

    The use of myth as a tool to control people is known yet people still get sucked into it because it is the only way people know how to think. they are taught to believe in the supernatural from birth and they are so afraid of the gods they will do as they are commanded as trained dogs.

    They are told that if they do not believe they will suffer an eternal hell of the worst kind. they will be shunned or killed by their own families. The power of the myth has choked humanity since the first shaman brought the mythic god to life around the cave camp fire. The first gods were animals, then the earth goddess, then the pantheon of males and females, to the monotheist god of the desert.
    Read Joseph Campbells the Masks of the gods. The Golden Bough by James Frazer, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and The web site The domain of Man and then.. Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill and his soon to be presented video and book The Single Strand.
    There are so many resources that counter the mythic tale. That show you the evolution of the myth and it impact on the human mind and culture. Those that do not look beyond their myth are a prison of it.
    the worst kind of prisoner... of the mind.
    We do not need the myth to be humans, we do not need to kill each other for the gods of dogmas.
    Peace come from equality and understanding of ourselves not the
    prisons of mythic madness of the long dead primitive people. We so not need to worship gods or anything. the concept is pointless and useless.
    If gods were necessary for life on this planet then why don't whales have gods, birds, zebras, fish, bacteria, my 2 cats, your pet dog?
    The world was not created for humans...or jellyfish.. as Ishmael the gorilla in Ismael by Daniel Quinn states. WE have wasted so much time, human thinking and resources on myths... it has held up back from being true humans and not storage places of nonsense myths.
    There are no gods..... only god sellers..... we need to stop buying into the myth... and be free.. and stop killing ourselves, other species to extinction and our planet.
    WE need to leave the age of mythic stupidity behind and put value in us and not the gods of our imaginations and long dead ignorant people. As long as we let the myths rule us we will never be free to evolve into our full potential of being human.. We will be puppets and parrots of barbaric ignorance for the prophets of the myth makers. Let the gods die and save the people and our planet.
    that will be real peace.. it does not require a priest, a prayer, a dogma, a obscene rule of gender based predigest or a racial specific doctrine.

    being myth free is nothing to fear.. it is freedom to think for yourself. What good is our outstanding brain if we are not allowed to use it as we wish and not have it programed with endless mindless useless mythic garbage. How can you say you are alive when you do not have complete control of your own thinking?

    The age of stupidity will end when we kill the gods and live for ourselves.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:35 am |
  15. Sam

    The utter stupidity of some people never ceases to amaze....burning someone's holy text is a GOOD THING????

    WFT??? Someone should go to that burning and toss in a few Bibles and Torahs just to even things out...ignorant twits.

    And they wonder why there's so much hatred with a background of religion....no one's got a monopoly on it.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:33 am |
  16. freewoman

    the koran burning is just a publicity stunt and well just another way to get the muslim hornet nest a abuzz.
    and bring out the myth makers to support each other in protecting their sacred cows and dogmas.
    the only times those myth makers join together is when on is threatened, but on in the pulpits they declare war on each other as heretics and send them to hell.
    now thats funny...

    we know the game.... and money is the prize....

    August 21, 2010 at 4:32 am |
  17. abc

    noting will change islam will move on and will Dominance all the world
    do what you want to do, islam is stronger than you

    August 21, 2010 at 4:30 am |
    • peace2all


      Are you trying to stir up all of the religious wing-nuts who are just looking for a reason to attack you and your religion.

      Try NOT acting like the stereotypical person that most of the people posting here perceive muslim's to be like.

      Try posting understanding and peace..... Just some friendly advise....

      Peace to you....

      August 21, 2010 at 4:34 am |
    • Kate


      Donut feed the trolls 🙂

      August 21, 2010 at 4:37 am |
    • peace2all


      Trolls or not.... sometimes the trolls are the ones making things worse for the rest. I am truly concerned when they make postings of that nature.... it will do nothing but hurt the rest of the peace loving people....

      But, thanks for the reminder...:-) !

      Peace to you....

      August 21, 2010 at 4:41 am |
  18. ADiff

    I'm waiting for our President to announce that although he thinks burning the Koran "unwise" he supports their Constitutional right to do so. Oh wait! It's a Christian Church! They don't commit 15,000+ acts of terror each year. No reason to kow-tow to THEM. We'll reserve the lick-spittle for the Muslims, they murder, maim and riot in the name of their Religion, so we'd better treat them well. The Christians are largely law abiding and don't seem to have gotten past the stage of thinking they have a God given mandate to make everyone else abide by their beliefs with force, so we can lambaste and attack THEM with impunity. If there's a moral in there it seems to be, it pays to be murderously intolerant.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:19 am |
  19. American

    BUSH /CHENEY / RUMSFELD LIES ABOUT IRAQ WMD's killed more usa citizens than 9/11 terrorists. BURN GOP DOCTRINE OF LIES!!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:18 am |
    • peace2all

      @ American

      Well... I gotta' say you made your points with brevity. Certainly a possibility on what you are saying here...


      August 21, 2010 at 4:22 am |
  20. American

    BUS/CHENEY LIES ABOUT NON EXISTENT WMD's KILLED MORE AMERICANS THAN 9-11 TERRORISTS. Its a fact. Republican lies have killed more people. So lets BURN GOP DOCTRINE!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:16 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.