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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. Keith

    Sadly, this Methodist minister is naive to the fact that if Sharia law comes to this country, he will be forced to sign a dhimmi to continue living. More likely he will be forced to RENOUNCE his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or be beheaded. Methodists believe in a dangerous doctrine called "replacement theology", where they replace verses in the Bible meant for Israel with the Church. So him being naive should not come as a surprise.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  2. Matrix

    Why was there never outrage at the protests in front of Mormon Temples by gays and lesbians? Where is the outrage at all the verbal assaults at other religious groups in this country, especially by leftists and atheists. Are Muslims exempt from having their religion criticized? Well, I guess the difference is that Muslims do have extremists that murder people for criticizing their religion.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  3. Benjamin Al-Cohan

    Freedom of speech? Read and listen to what is going on today. There are words that cannot be spoken because they will
    "offend" someone. Can I censor you because I do not like what you say? We are all in danger of losing our right to free speech. This forum edits some comments because it finds them too "offensive". Let ME decide, not You, what I what to read.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:03 am |
  4. GianCarlo

    I am more afraid of religion then I am of the devil himself. If this is what this christian church is doing, my God, who needs the devil. If we look a little close, you will see that; we are the devil.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  5. Heike

    The church is standing up against those who fight for freedom. They are compromising like the church did with Hitler. Freedom of speech means we disagree and you don't like my point of view. If we cannot practice this, we do not have freedom any more. Too many people already bowing to Islam out of fear. Too many people remind us on the fact that this could cause trouble and they fear for their safety. Just keep in mind who is killing their daughters, when they want to live like an american girl, who flew into the towers, who did London, Madrid, Bali etc. Islam is deceiving the west by saying Peace, Peace ( like Hitler did) The same time they proclaim openly that they want to have Sharia l law. Where Islam grows, freedom disappears.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  6. Scott

    This is AWFUL! I condemn this act entirely! Why won't some Americans get over the fact that not every Muslim is a terrorist? It is an utter slap in the face to my great friend from college, Mohammed of Saudi Arabia. He means entirely well. Sure, I don't agree with the teachings of Islam, or any other religion for that matter (I am an entirely secular agnostic and that won't be changing anytime soon), but I couldn't ask for a kinder friend than him. It pains me to see all this commotion lately. There are many others like him who are entirely innocent and being so heavily stigmatized for his non-extremist beliefs.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  7. deccaone

    (b)iraq hussein osama
    i have never read so much crap in my life as what you have written here. Christianity teaches to convert and if those non believers won't do so, they will pay in the afterlife. Your muslim faith teaches to give those non followers a chance to convert and if they don't, they are infidels and must be killed. You keep on talking about Hitler and compairing him to Christians yet he wasn't a Christian and by killing all those people, he went against the bible. If you look at it carefully however, his actions are closer to islam and muslims then they are any other religion or "nation", he killed those who were not like him...sounds pretty muslimish to me. Freewoman...go lesbians go...go lesbians go...SHUT THE HELL UP. Mulsimgirl...how can you preach anything about morality to anyone when, in your society, you are and will always be nothing but property and like so many muslim women before you, can be killed at the drop of a hat if you "disgrace" your family or faith or nation or society or...you get the picture.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  8. goldust4444

    It is religion against religion. Which is a dangerous thing. Religion is one of the basic kindles in firing up a war. It is Christians v. Muslims. We will see a war in no time for sure. The extremist muslim's don't know what they're doing to the world. They are getting everybody fired up. And the backlash against them will be devasting, especially for the peaceful muslims. Using religion as an excuse to murder is dangerous.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  9. me

    do one free women. wat do you know? your full of it

    August 21, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  10. Republicus Maximus

    Now let's see, a so-called religion invented by a guy in a cave, hmm. And want to piss off a muslim? Tell them how God created allah as He created everything.
    Burning their how to guide? Not necessary, I know where I'm going after death, and where they're going.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  11. Wayne Sapp

    It is a shame to see what the church has become! Dove World Outreach Center is not the only real church, but it one of the few that are there. The rest are just going through the motions. teachings, singing and eating and dying and nobody is changing. Nobody is changing because sin and false religions have taken over the modern church of today. God does not honor or respect other religions! God does not accept homosexuality! God will not change because these things have become popular in society today. All you religious people and your religious leaders better wake up, because if you continue to be ashamed of the gospel and deny Him then He will deny you! ........ – "BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS"

    August 21, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  12. amy

    The Koran calls for violence. Which other religion threatens to kill its apostates?
    Every Christian should agree that the Koran is a terrible, evil book that leads people to hell. It clearly says in there that Jesus was NOT the son of God and that he DID NOT DIE. That is the core of Christianity & our only way to salvation.
    ISLAM IS OF THE DEVIL!

    August 21, 2010 at 7:36 am |
    • vdiddy71

      Where exactly does the Koran ask for violence? Can you give me a place that says that? And yes, the Koran says that Jesus is not the Messiah but it also says Jesus was the most important Apostle. But Islam believes in one God, a peaceful God. Have you actually read or researched the Koran?

      August 21, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  13. Lou

    This insults and ignores the principles of Christianity and our American ideals of tolerance and respect.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  14. anditerry

    Islam is of the Devil, lets burn korans on 9 11

    August 21, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  15. Dave

    10 reasons to burn a Koran

    One

    The Koran teaches that Jesus Christ, the Crucified, Risen Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords was NOT the Son of God, nor was he crucified (a well documented historical fact that ONLY Islam denies). This teaching removes the possibility of salvation and eternal life in heaven for all Islam's believers. They face eternal damnation in hell if they do not repent.

    Two

    The Koran does not have an eternal origin. It is not recorded in heaven. The Almighty God, Creator of the World, is NOT it's source. It is not holy. It's writings are human in origin, a concoction of old and new teachings. This has been stated and restated for centuries by scholars since Islam's beginnings, both Moslem and non-Moslem.

    Three

    The Koran's teaching includes Arabian idolatry, paganism, rites and rituals. These are demonic, an ongoing satanic stronghold under which Moslems and the world suffer.

    Four

    The earliest writings that are known to exist about the Prophet Mohammad were recorded 120 years after his death. All of the Islamic writings (the Koran and the Hadith, the biographies, the traditions and histories) are confused, contradictory and inconsistent. Maybe Mohammad never existed. We have no conclusive account about what he said or did. Yet Moslems follow the destructive teachings of Islam without question.

    Five

    Mohammad's life and message cannot be respected. The first Meccan period of his leadership seems to have been religiously motivated and a search for the truth. But in the second Medina period he was "corrupted by power and worldly ambitions." (Ibn Warraq) These are characteristics that God hates. They also led to political assassinations and massacres which continue to be carried out on a regular basis by his followers today.

    Six

    Islamic Law is totalitarian in nature. There is no separation of church and state. It is irrational. It is supposedly immutable and cannot be changed. It must be accepted without criticism.

    Seven

    Islam is not compatible with democracy and human rights. The notion of a moral individual capable of making decisions and taking responsibility for them does not exist in Islam. The attitude towards women in Islam as inferior possessions of men has led to countless cases of mistreatment and abuse for which Moslem men receive little or no punishment, and in many cases are encouraged to commit such acts, and are even praised for them. This is a direct fruit of the teachings of the Koran.

    Eight

    A Muslim does not have the right to change his religion. Apostasy is punishable by death.

    Nine

    Deep in the Islamic teaching and culture is the irrational fear and loathing of the West.

    Ten

    Islam is a weapon of Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism. Wherever Islam has or gains political power, Christians, Jews and all non-Moslems receive persecution, discrimination, are forced to convert. There are massacres and churches, synagogues, temples and other places of worship are destroyed.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  16. RadicalFight4Freedom

    Jesus Christ is the only way! The bible says so. all of the christians know this very well. the koran denies that Jesus was the son of God or that he died on the cross for our sins and rose again.
    This is why we burn the koran, this is why millions of people are going to hell. Its because the peaceful mask of Islam is fooling a lot of people. some have seen behind the mask of innocence. WAKE UP AMERICA! can't you see the danger?
    millions are going to hell and we can't even stand up and speak the truth?
    Jesus went in and crashed the selling at the temple and everyone sees him as some kind of teddy bear? I mean whats going on? where has basic christianity fled to?
    We in America and especially we as christians should support Dove World Outreach Center. the koran is NOT, i repeat, is NOT a holy book. it is a book of false teachings that are leading millions to hell. Muhammad was a false prophet. and...Islam is of the Devil.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:31 am |
    • Richie P

      Why did Jesus smash the temple? I always find this perplexing...there were some things going on there that pale in comparison to what we have right here in God's America. Jesus would NEVER have capitalism yet, take a walk through Christian America and you'll see that Jesus and capitalism are intertwined. In fact, if you believe that capitalism is wrong, then you hate Jesus. We have a wonderful country here, but only because we use and waste more than our fair share. How can anyone believe that God is on our side? He's probably pretty damn angry with us. With everything that we consume (and I am a part of this, though I am trying to change) we are hurting the earth. If Jesus were here, we wouldn't have any of the vain items. We wouldn't wear anything other than what would keep us warm and safe. No designer clothing, no makeup, no vehicles that bleed the earth. We are so far away from what Jesus would settle for, that there is just NO chance that bible thumping American Christians are guiding the way to heaven. Until we care more about our fellow humans than what we can have, buy and sell, we will never truly follow God's word. Think about it! We consume way more than our share of the world's resources and, yet, people still believe that we are blessed by God...?! How could He ever be ok with that? I go back to the bible often, and cannot find anything that would convince me of anything but the opposite. We are definitely a fortunate country, but it is only because many others suffer and survive on less. We "capitalize" on that. What would Jesus say about that? I believe I know the answer...

      August 21, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  17. William Sullivan

    International 'Burn a Quran day'? Seriously? To burn the Quran is to assault a whole religion. The people who attack the United States because of their interpretation of the Quaran are fanatics, and do not represent the Islamic religion as a whole. Would it be right if people burned the Bible in response to the Inquisition? No. I repeat, would it be right if people burned the Bible in response to the Inquisition? Wake up people, and use your God-given intellect to see truth in the matter.

    This is not a fight between people of different faiths. It is a fight of against small numbers of people of different faiths who share the same values, those values being that one must destroy anyone who does not agree with them.

    Why are we beholden to the fanatics of our societies? Who are they to claim ultimate knowledge of the Will of God? Do they know the Mind of God? I think not. Religious belief is a personal matter, and one that we have no right to impose upon another.

    So yeah, I'll say it. Burn a Quran Day sounds like something that Hitler would approve of. You people only want to puff your chests and parade around while denying other people the rights that you enjoy. Piss off. This is the United States of America, where we have a Constitutional Right of Freedom of Religion. If you deny others that right, then you deny yourself of that right. Again, piss off.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  18. fariba

    we should burn all religious books.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  19. Kookie

    So what's with all the hoopla? I thought Americans were all atheists who were slaves to the almighty dollar.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:00 am |
  20. SorryBut

    According to the Quran the infidels don't have the right to existence over the earth, that's why the 9/11 attacks happened.

    August 21, 2010 at 6:59 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.