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. Omar Hedya

    You know what you are still BARBARIAN at heart!!You will never change the same old barbarians who broke the water powered clock which was sent to France from the Muslim Caliph, because they claimed it has the devil inside it are now burning the Holy Qur'an!!You will never change!!You have failed to spread your religion by debates and discussions(Actually you were crushed by Sheikh Ahmed Deedat) now you are acting in a barbaric way and burning our holy book!!!Btw if you want to burn the Qur'an because as you claim is the source of evil and violence then I think everyone on this planet should burn your Bible!!Most of the world massacres were caused by YOU!! The Crusaders killed around 70,000 muslim on the first day on invading Jerusalem!!The French killed 1.5 million muslims in Algeira,The massacres caused by Europeans against Native Americans,The Armenian terrorists,Atomic Bomb,Bosnia,Charlman,Forcing muslims in Spain and portugal to either become a Christian or being tortured and killed!! and don't forget Indonesia,and the 900 muslims who were burnt alive in Nigeria by the Christian militias!! btw try reading your old testament it's full of orders to KILL and DESTROY!!and to those idiots who claim that Non-Muslims are not allowed to live in Islamic lands then how the hell do we have christians in our lands and some of them worked as ministers in the Islamic Caliphates!!!Can't you think!!and btw our religion ordered us only to fight those who fights us!!there is only 2 types of Jihads in our religon

    1-Jihad El Daf:It's when muslims are attacked and we have to defend them
    2-Jihad El Talab:It's when a non-muslim ruler prevent people from converting to Islam or prevent Muslims from spreading the word of Allah so in that case we fight to allow our brothers in these lands to live in peace!!and the prophet himself said:"La ttmno leka el ado w as'lo Allah el afya" which means Don't wish to fight and ask Allah for health and peace!!

    August 21, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  2. Anka Kopper

    There is no peace and safety outside of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
    Jesus is not a Prophet, he is the Son of God!!!
    We need to be a warning voice into the world outside to see the dark times we are living in!
    God gave us Grace for a long time now, but we have to break our pride, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and spread the true Gospel!!!
    We have only one book what is holy-THE HOLY BIBLE!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  3. Mark

    So, the Hamas-affiliated Moslem propaganda group, Council on American Islamic Relations, wants to host Koran parties to educate the public? Great! Here are some verses from the Koran which they should educate the public about:
    - Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve. (8.55)
    –The unbelievers are your inveterate enemy. (4:101)
    - Mohammed is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (48:29).
    - Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. (2:193)
    - The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. (4:76)
    - We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (3:151)
    - I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers. (8:12)

    And the Dove Church, instead of burning the Koran, should educate the public about what is in the Koran.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  4. brian

    WWJD (what would Jesus do?) ... he surely wouldn't be burning someone's holy book like these people want to do.

    The Bible is full of passages telling listeners to be tolerant of everyone:

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"...
    "Judge not, lest ye be Judged"
    "I am my Brother's Keeper"

    What Bible are these angry people reading anyway??

    August 21, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  5. Michaels

    Its an abomination in Obamanation. We holler about the constitutions laws and then go against it. A lot of people have religions they say what they do is in its name but you cant find it in their books making religions look bad.Im learning its not about revenge, its about mercy. I expierienced the second life and came back.Ive seen those who fear the first and all this is really nonsense.I know whose world this is and who is deceived.Its all really sad we are hooked like a fish and reeled in only to be served up. All my words are lost to those who are in bondage with themselves.I find what you do and your deeds define just exactly what and who you worship.According to the hate Ive seen alot will suffer for their own hatred.Good luck with that as when you do die,its all about placement.While many may argue, Ive been there, most havent.So your words of ill only affects your spirit.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  6. stevie68a

    I once saw a film where the koran was floating over people's heads shooting lightning bolts at them. Of course, the participants
    had a crazy, bulging eyed look.
    This sort of nonsense is why people like me laugh at religion. Time to grow up. The "Buy Bull" is a nonsense book, also.
    Consider: talking snakes and bushes, being swallowed by a whale, Noah's arc, just children's stories.
    Whatever good there is in religion, can be had without it. Teach children ethics. Religion is trickery, superstition, and shame.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  7. Fred

    Burn baby burn. Remember 911.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  8. revnandann

    I am glad religious leaders in Gainesville are planning an event to focus on mutual understanding, respect and peace. Hopefully Rev. Jones comes to his senses and cancels his event. Islam is not evil. Unfortunately, Rev. Jones is misinformed not only about Islam, but about the teachings of Jesus and Christianity as well. One wonders if he attended an accredited seminary. At ipetition there are a couple of petitions to encourage him to cancel his event if anyone is inclined to sign.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  9. TruthSeeker

    They burn any book that goes against their beliefs including Catholic bibles. Protestants are whack-jobs anyway, and this is why I'm not one of them.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  10. Nate from Atlanta

    "Pastor" Terry Jones is just a redneck looking for an excuse to burn something other than his own cross.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  11. jake

    Our Christian leaders need to get a backbone and stand up to these Islamic people before the Islam takes over in the US like it has in Europe.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  12. Frank

    Organizing a "Burn a Quran Day" is but the latest display of ignorance and idiocy that is spreading through the U.S. Charles Pierce (2010) rightfully argues a similar point in his book, "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free". What can you expect when people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are being idolized by certain groups of people, and where Fox News is the only source of what not even with a straight faced be called "news" anymore.
    The dialog underlying the "Burn a Quran Day" – they hate us for our freedoms" – is still as decontextualized and irresponsible as it was after 9/11. The generalizations peddled by this pastor – Muslims are all bad – are reminiscent of similar ignorance displayed by a former top counter-terrorism official when testifying before Congress years ago and he could not even tell the difference between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim. Under such circumstances, one would do well to take a lesson of history and take Mao Zedong's dictum to heart – "No investigation, no right to speak."

    August 21, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  13. Bill

    These people are not from a real church – just a tax shelter they created one night while sitting in their kitchen. This is their best time to promote their hate books, where a lot of bigots and hate mongers are being cultivated by certain political parties like the republican tea party. Strike it rich while it's hot.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  14. Watch HItchens Debates

    I wish I could laugh at the lunacy of these religious people's comments. But I can't, because the world view of religious people is a threatening one. Disguised as some benelovent authority on existence, your holy books cause violence, segregation, ignorance, fear and an overall obstacle to the evolution of humanity. To all you Christians and Muslims, do you not realize that you are simply the product of your demographic? Had you Christians been born in Iran, you would be Muslim. And had you Muslims been born in India, you would be SIkh (or Hindu). Religion is the bronze age, perennial regurgitation of brainwashing by parents to children from generation to generation. It's a vicious circle. There is absolutely no basis for truth, evidence or authority. It was written by men, for men, to subjugate women and amass power. Look at the Vatican, for example. It is not the fault of the children that there formative years were twisted with hand-me-down fairy tales, but it is their responsibilty to break the circle and seek truth in science and/or individual spirituality -because all the major religions are bogus. And you are al atheists to one god or another. You don't believe in Zeus, or Apollo do you? Just go one god further and make it consistent.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  15. Obama Jokes

    Shame! its same like Taliban's are doing against Non Muslims.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  16. Born again Christian

    Christians are supposed to tell others about what Jesus has done for them with a loving attitude. Christianity is about finding that there is forgiveness and redemption through Jesus' death on the cross for the wrong things we have all done. Burning the Quran promotes hatred and is an evil act because it hardens the hearts of those who read it to the message of Jesus Christ.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  17. Rana

    My advice. If you really want to stop Islam, then just do nothing about it. The more you do these crazy things the more it will be covered in the media and the more people will be interested in Islam. People has a natural tendence to inquire something which is forbidden. They amount of coverage given for Islam in the media is so huge in these days and it is nothing but a free advertisement for them in the whole world.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  18. Yehia Saleh

    Do you really tend to burn the Holy Qur'an? We Muslims never burned a Bible before. Muhammad (pbuh) respected Christianity and judaism and had friends from both religions . Do you really think that burning the holy book that will make millions of people angry is a solution to reach peace and happiness? I bet you didn't even read the beautiful book maybe when you do , you will think twice before scratching it ! Our problem we Humans that we always respect our own believes but do we respect others' believes? Think again before doing such a crime . In the end we Muslims , Christians and Jews are made by one not two or three and we will see him in the judgement day , the day when our God will judge so why do we judge other people's believes now? We should respect each other and build up this Earth and leave the judgement to the almighty judger !

    August 21, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  19. Syeda

    Peace and Salam,

    We really live in a world of extremes and some people use religion to justify their actions. No religion teaches hatred including islam. We have to understand all these wars and terrorism is a creation of the west for their greed and for power control and we can see this in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq. I would invite people to read the Quran which speaks for itself. It doesn't just talk about hell fire but about heaven. Islam teaches about being honest, righteous, just, loving, charitable and serving humanity. If a few indiviuals go against in the name of the religion why blame the religion and the followers. The crusades were christians and they massacred the muslims and the jews and in recent times the serbs massacred the bosnians and George Bush went to war with iraq and there were no weapons of destruction it was a lie. Does this mean that every christian is a terrorist and that this is the teaching of christianity. Its the same with islam. We desperately need to heal our planet rather than fight and destroy it. There is too much violence and not enough of peace. The west could help these poor countries in good will yet they are ruthless in their greed. 1 billion people have no access to clean water ....this is the planet we live on. Really its shameful. Surely we want to leave this world having done something for humanity. In closing in the Quran there is a verse which teaches us that if you save one life it is like saving the whole of humanity and if you destroy a life it is like destroying the whole of humanity. Don't believe the hype, the media and all these distractions and lies....find the truth the meaning to life we have a short time in this world either we can do something good and lead or we can continue to indulge our egos and our greed and be led and used. Its time to seriously reflect and play a positive role to heal the world. There are too many problems don't be a trouble maker be a peacemaker.....

    August 21, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  20. ummi


    August 21, 2010 at 8:08 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.