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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. Richard

    Some say that the Quran was the reason for the attacks. I say it was terrible and angry idiots. If we use that faulty line of reasoning, then Christianity is a terrible religion, since it has been used to condemn men and women (mostly women) to death (Salem Witch Trials anyone?), to condone slavery, to condone segregation, to hate and condemn homosexuals, to ban rock and roll... KKK and lynch mobs?!!! The bible has been abused much in the same way that the Quran is being abused by the unhappy muslims of the world. However, as I've looked into this religion (Islam), I have seen that it is not one of hatred and violence, it is just terrible interpretations that make it so. Christians have done (and are doing) the same. Since we can't end religion, we NEED to end religious intolerance on ALL sides. No group is without its misinterpreters.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:55 am |
  2. LOVE ISLAM

    burn Quran we will(all islam lovers/muslims) burn all you bigheaded gobs**tes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • SorryBut

      That exactly the hatred, revenge natural from the Quran, this is what the Quran produce: hatred, and is a threat to human kind ,evidence of this are the 9/11 attacks.

      August 21, 2010 at 7:07 am |
  3. wildman

    once the fire is really going, grab every mudslime you can find and throw them all in as well.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  4. warsteiner

    I dont believe in wasting paper and killing more tree's how about bleach the pages of a Koran clean day?

    August 21, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  5. franki

    freewoman

    you should be stoned for be soo damnn stupid lol

    August 21, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  6. Terry - Indiana

    If this issue does not tell how far Christians will go to destroy another's religious faith and beliefs, nothing else will. I still smile when I think of the Prop 8 issues out in California. The Mormon Church of Utah pumped over $10 Million into television ads, mailers, and young people walking door-to-door condemning Gay Marriage. Now, they want us to burn a Quran, the holy book of Islam. Christians are a strange lot, a very strange lot.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:39 am |
  7. vince

    @freewoman
    Just to let you know... Women in this country is still consider second class citizen... It's just that we treat them a little better in our society then others.
    1. The right to vote – Women were allowed to vote after WWII
    2. The right to own land – Only married women could own land in 1848
    3. The right to have an abortion... – Still religious groups / politicians feeds the media of what you free women have a right to do with their own free bodies. hahahahahahhaah

    August 21, 2010 at 6:38 am |
  8. vince

    freewoman
    Just to let you know... Women in this country is still consider second class citizen... It's just that we treat them a little better in our society then others.
    1. The right to vote – Women were allowed to vote after WWII
    2. The right to own land – Only married women could own land in 1848
    3. The right to have an abortion... – Still religious groups / politicians feeds the media of what you free women have a right to do with their own free bodies. hahahahahahhaah

    August 21, 2010 at 6:35 am |
  9. Forthesakeoflove

    Tthe inspiration for 9/11 attacks was the Quoran.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:30 am |
  10. LOVE ISLAM

    ALL YOU BAS**** AGAINST ISLAM...GO TO HELL AND F*** WITH CHRISTIANITY AND WHATEVER OTHER RELIGION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MUSLIMS ARE PROUD TO BE MUSLIMS AND QURAN..... DO WHATEVER YOU WANT (Burn Quran or be against ISLAM) BUT YOU CANNOT BURN QURAN FROM MUSLIMS' HEARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 6:25 am |
  11. Forthesakeoflove

    Following the Quoran made the perpetrators do what they did: the bloodiest, cruelest, deathliest and cowardest terrorist attack ever done in human history.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:25 am |
  12. toysax

    What a sad day for america...If one looks at Christian history.. people were bunred at the stake,people wee tortured in Spain if they didnt convert.. priests molesting children hiding behind the robes of the church. Wars over christianity etc... who the hell are christians to do this? Jesus must be CRYING, that his name is being used for this. All the same god.. there is no room in this universe for a concept as stupid as competeing gods!

    August 21, 2010 at 6:22 am |
  13. vince

    freewoman
    " koran " its qur'an. Not the way u spell it.
    Every religion to this day still fights, willing to die, and sacrifice their lives for their god.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:19 am |
  14. Ron

    It makes me sad that there are people out there who hold all muslims responsible for what happened on 9/11. I know many muslims who condemn the events and many christian americans who did not even care. Stupidity like this is the reason as to why so many nations and cultures hate us. It is time to grow up America and stop acting like spoiled children looking for a fight.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:18 am |
  15. americas new slogan

    instead of "America the land of the fre, the home of the brave." It should be"America the land of teh free, and home of the brave,unless ur muslim then u can go fk urself."

    August 21, 2010 at 6:18 am |
  16. Forthesakeoflove

    The Quoran was the inspiration for 9/11 attacks, what is written in the Quoran made the perpetrators do what they did: the bloodiest, cruelest, deathliest and cowardest terrorist attack ever done in human history.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:15 am |
  17. vince

    First of all... Monkey sees Monkey do...
    "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."
    If you can't spell what you hate so much... Then then you my friend and the rest of your followings are idiots.... scary
    If you claim that 400 Muslims died as a Martyr inside the building... Then.. You watch too much fox news... Great resource...
    Burning the Qur'an is freedom of expression... Like burning the flag...
    But, really... I mean seriously?... Do we need anymore stupidity in this world all at once...
    And, to remember 9/11 victims... Here's a thought...
    Build something at ground zero that we all can heal and move forward... Instead of two giant wasteful lights that is draining money out of New York. And, what a tasteless tourist attraction...
    Thanks Rudy Giuliani for milking the fire departments and the police department for what it's worth... Both departments despises you so much now.
    And, Thank You Mike Bloomberg for not building anything at ground zero... What is the problem? Simple, almost 9 years later and nothing. WOW... Nice...
    Last but and not least... Radical Muslims are the ones we should be scared about...
    But, then again any radical groups in our country truly puts our freedom and our security at risks.
    Think before you speak or do...

    August 21, 2010 at 6:08 am |
  18. hicham

    muslims denouce all type of extermist, which usually spread hate between someone else who are sharing you version of faith and idoelgy .and extermism spread to all faiths and is problemes to all faiths.
    my self, this poeples has nothing to do with cristianity, and with chruch and there millions of true cristians who are denouncing this non-sense crime, and at the end as muslims, i think it will work to the benefith of islam, more poeples will read the koran just as curiosity , and when i say that , is not to convert, but is for knowledge which is power.
    and to me if your are cristians, or jewishes or muslims, and strongly believes of any of this trio faiths the right way, than you have nothing to fear from reading anything else for the seek of understanding what other poepels believes or thinks.
    remembers, jewishes, cristians, and muslims already agree on 99% (which the is one god), so will not let the 1% of diffrence left at work, and forget the 99% which is more important in my mind.
    i.m sure millions if true cristains across the globe are denouncing this non-sense crime. and this chruch has more to loose than gain even from it members...
    that why , we should to start transfering all extremist from all faiths to antartica, where either way, has to find solutions there to survive, or face some consequance together.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:01 am |
  19. brad

    Well book burning is a common pasttime in the deep south. Its a lot easier to burn a book than to learn to read. However, it is still a freedom of speech issue BUT this is where it gets tricky. If were any other group it would be protected speech. The only way churches are tax exempt is if they stay out of the political arena. This church is getting dangerously close to politics. In other issues why is it ok to lump all muslims in with Al Queda but in the same fashion why arent all xtians like the Westboro Baptist lunatics.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:53 am |
  20. Malacki

    I'm a person of faith and I won't bother trying to argue with those of other faiths. I also won't bother arguing with those of no faith. I'll just state some principals that are generally accepted by the religious and the secular alike:"Treat others as you'd like to be treated"., "Live and let live", "To each his own".

    The Quran, the Bible, the Talmud, the diary you keep under your pillow – it doesn't matter what you think of it or what someone else thinks of it, it just matters that it means something to someone. Burning it isn't about destroying the paper that it's written on – only the ignorant break it down to that level – it's about the meaning behind the act. It's a deliberate act of disrespect and that's not something that anyone, religious or secular, would take lying down.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:48 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.