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. birdseye

    Everyone who is a non-muslim yet supports Islam hasn't seen the real face of islam or choose to have a blind eye. Except for Islam, all the worlds religions are more about worshiping God and developing yourself spiritually, but Islam has very little to do with worshiping God and more about eliminating non-members or discriminating heavily against them wherever there are sizable numbers of muslims or they are powerful positions. Ask the non-muslim second class citizens of any muslim majority countries. These are facts that Americans haven't yet started to face so are being so supportive of islam. Muslim world will never return the favor and continue to find grievances against america and other non-muslim powers however generous you are towards them.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
    • jan

      its not the religions its idiots like u and me that twist them has we like.All religions preach love and peace

      August 21, 2010 at 1:10 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      muslims worship God 5 times a day!!! They fast 30 days of the year!! and are required to give charity from their earnings. Prayer-Fasting-Charity are the three most common activities of a muslim and make up over 70% of his religious duties on average. Maybe you should read a book on Islam before becoming an expert on the religion!

      August 21, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • Jupiter

      5 times a day brainwashing is not self improvement. Consider this, 90% of all terrorist crap is associated with Islam and muslims. Muslims fight with Jews (israel), Muslims fight with Christians (Egypt, nigeria, US, UK, Europe), muslims fight with Hindus (India), Muslims fight with buddists (thailand), muslims fight with chinese (communists), Muslims fight with Sikhs (Kashmir), Muslims fight with RUssians (chechnya), Muslims fight with Serbs (Serbia, Bosnia)... but mind you Islam is a really peaceful religion!!! Fool me once shame on you, fool me the second time...shame on me.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:01 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      the reason why 90% of terrorism is associated with islam is because you are not taking data as far back as 1920. If you take the last 100 years of terrorism, muslims account for less than 10% of it!! Use your brain to think instead of as an ar se hole blocking device.

      August 21, 2010 at 5:06 am |
    • Edreese

      @birdseye: how could you possible say that Islam has nothing to do with worshiping God? We pray five times a day!

      August 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  2. BigDumbBear

    "And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing. He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained."

    "And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They said: O Mary! surely you have done a strange thing. O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. But she pointed to the babe. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" He spake: Lo! I am the slave of God. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet, And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; And dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed; Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt."

    If you think I just quoted the New Testament, think again. The quotes are from Qur'an, chapter 19, which is titled "Mary". First paragraph is from verses 1 to 22, and second paragraph is from 27 to 34. So before burning Qur'an, know that you are also burning beautiful passages such as these.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Leeberto

    Burning a Quran is allowed just as building a mosque near 9/11. Both are very bad taste in my opinion, but you can't use the Constitution to validate one but not the other!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  4. aptheker9

    once again, i am ashamed of my americanism. the first amendment forms the bedrock of our right-based constitutional liberties, and decrying the right of people to freely worship the god of their choosing is disquieting to say the least. shame on all of us.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  5. Crescent

    People, please come to civility! One day Koran is burnt, another day Bible, or other day the Torah. Where is it leading us to, so called civil society? THINK, with both side of your brain!!!!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • birdseye

      Its the moderate muslim who has to think. Simply because you are born into that religion doesn't mean you have to support an evil cult. It is your support that makes the terrorists so bold.

      August 20, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  6. AthensGuy

    I;m in a hotel right now... anyone needing bibles for the stove? glad to help!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • heterohighelf

      did those Gideons sneak in to your room again? they keep leaving their bibles in the drawer

      August 21, 2010 at 3:22 am |
  7. eman

    what the hell is this!!! is by this u beleive in peace :S, by burning the quran u r not only disrespecting our religion, you are starting a hatered between people!!!! not all people or "muslims" did the events of 9th of september!! am a muslim and i have many friends and we respect others religion!!! am reporting this is an abuse and i don't accept what's being said by you!!! democracy isn't by hurting others!! you should be in jail !!!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • Kevin

      9th of September?

      August 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  8. florida girl

    I guess these guys are yearning for the good old days of CONVERT OR DIE! Perhaps they should study the history of Christianity and see how similar they are sounding to those ugly days...

    August 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • NEON whip

      one should study mithra.

      August 22, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  9. Otoyo

    at some point, when each one is quite and alone by themselves, this question might cross some of your minds. Why so much hate against this one religion? The answer will come to you slowly.. I will give you a clue ..Denial. Denial? about what? I don't know. The rest of THIS conversation will have to continue between you and yourself.. One love everybody!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  10. American4EVR

    In America freedom works both ways. If you have the freedom to burn the flag as part of the first amendment... you also have the freedom to burn the Qu'ran as part of the first amendment.

    Suck it up, buttercups.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      again, it is NOT the legality of the action that is being questioned; it is the morality of it (and its potential consequences)

      August 20, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • James

      It sounds like you didn't read the story. The First Amendment allows for content neutral safety regulations. So a municipality can have a law that bars the public burning of certain materials if it's based on public safety, not addressed to certain speech/symbolic content, and not merely a pretext to prohibit protected speech. Gainesville has a law against burning certain paper products which is equally applied regardless of what is printed on the paper. It's not a matter of singling out the Koran for protection.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  11. AthensGuy

    it is incredible that in this day and age we still fight over myths created by illiterate herders nearly 5,000 years ago (and changed a bit by equally ignorant people 2000, 1500 and 500 years ago)

    August 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • Paul


      August 21, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • peace2all


      With ya' on that one...


      August 21, 2010 at 2:45 am |
    • Kate

      @Al Bundy

      "Smoke = Obama and his atheist administration allowing the erection of a Mosque on ground zero (what was he thinking that man!)"

      Ummm, probably this? "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

      Just guessin'

      August 21, 2010 at 4:42 am |
  12. Amr of peace

    Look everyone...
    I am a muslim and proud of it and every single muslim is!
    But this isn't how problems are solved this is how they start!!
    In both our religions god orders us to spread peace not war or hatred
    I sincerely wish this event doesn't occur ..
    And a little bit of information to all the ignorant people out there(whatever your religion is):
    People like ossama ben laden who cause wars and kill with no reasons and claim that they are right and are protecting islam and that this is right are wrong!!
    They are seen as terrorists in islam and very religion and are not welcome in anyway possible and may they burn in hell!!
    And there is a very famous proverb in the middle east especially in egypt it saya:
    "al erhab la deen laho" wich means:
    terrorism is not welcome in any religion it even asks us to fight them not help them!
    hope this was understood in the right way.....
    (P.S)(How would u like it if someone made an event to burn bibles??!! Islam forbids that by the way..)

    August 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • IMAGINE (John Lennon)

      Amr of peace, I like what you said...all of us, no matter what the religion or beliefs of our culture are due the respect of our beliefs..not all muslims are terrorists, just like not all christians are true believers in god...this wanting to burn the qur'an is pure hatred at best...i think this "preacher" would be surprised at the followers he wont have!!! This is america and we are americans, we welcome all who want to live in peace and better their lives, no matter what their cultural values are...we live in a society of accepting others...dont judge if you do not want to be judged...i am praying that god will cause a major storm in florida that day so nothing can be set on fire..remember..what goes around comes around..this can not end peacefully....john lennon said it so well..........IMAGINE

      August 21, 2010 at 12:18 am |
    • DearyPie

      Well said Amir and Imagine. Good thing there are some people here that have a thought to the meaning of peaceful coexistence.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:16 am |
    • kargo27

      Amr of peace: That's good to know. What the GOOD Muslim groups need to do is protest the bad ones giving your faith a bad name!

      We don't hear of any opposition to the terrorists except few and far between posts like this. I think cynical Americans like myself want to believe that there are good Muslims out there.

      Have your mosques take out pages in the local papers, run commercials condemning radical Islam and then we'll see some unity.

      Silence means compliance and if non-Muslims don't see any good Muslims opposing the bad, then we're kind of forced to believe you're all in agreement to some degree.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  13. Kevin

    We live in a messed up world. Three major religions, who all claim to be peaceful, but every chance they get, they try to prove their dominance over the other. Its not the books that cause violence, its the salience of the belief itself. Until people stop believing that their "current" life is a struggle to convert others or undermine people of another religion, we will never see peace. Its just saddening that as a quiet atheist who respects everyone regardless of religion, there are others who will inevitably ruin this world in pursuit of something that very likely was a creation by some government to consolidate power and promote nationalism (ie: We are the chosen people.) We need more education

    August 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • Natalie

      You think there are three major religions? I'm interested to hear what you think they are.

      August 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Kevin

      I didn't say there are only three major religions. I'm just referring to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as the context of the article would imply. They seem to be the ones involved in conflict the most, perhaps because of the "with us or against us" attitude.

      August 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • GINNY sue


      August 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • GINNY sue

      That Amen was to Kevin regarding ALL organized religions!!!

      August 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • A Call To Battle


      That is one of the best posts in this thread. Thank you.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:59 am |
    • Jangocat

      Unfortunately you can't reason with people who are ignorant enough to believe in bronze age fairy tales of the supernatural, paranormal and the occult. They are so afraid of the finality of death they need to put blind faith above logic and reason in hope of immorality. They will never accept the fact that they are just another mammal and they aren't going anywhere other then the ground just like every other creature on this planet.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:06 am |
    • Al Bundy

      don't be naive atheist !
      The trouble started when an atheist in disguise seating in his white house, took a big pay check from a whealthy sheilk from Saudi Arabia.
      From that point onward, he started defending the right of Muslims to erect a mosque in the heart of ground zero.
      Everything has a price it seems. Even America's honour-

      August 21, 2010 at 3:14 am |
    • Al Bundy

      No fire without smoke Kevin !
      Smoke = Obama and his atheist administration allowing the erection of a Mosque on ground zero (what was he thinking that man!)
      Fire = 9/11/2010

      August 21, 2010 at 3:22 am |
    • peace2all

      @ Al Bundy

      Keep on smokin' what you are smokin' there Al...... Your posts only seem to be extremely biased, unfounded in any fact, and just more hate-mongering....

      How about trying to bring some peace into this discussion...?

      Peace to you....

      August 21, 2010 at 3:30 am |
    • Al Bundy

      scripture burning is certainly not the right answer but what kind of sado-masochist nation do you expect would passively accept a mosque to be erected on such a sensitive spot -knowing the circonstances- ?
      What an irresponsible and mindless political gesture ! so unnecessary !

      August 21, 2010 at 3:50 am |
    • peace2all

      @ Al Bundy

      I understand where you are coming from and respect and appreciate your perspective..... but, I am still hearing assumptions about political posturing and gain, etc....

      There is a difference here.... A group of people want to erect a community center, i.e... build something constructively. This pastor, Terry Jones, wants to inflame a world religion by burning their holy book. It is just not the same thing Al. People are assuming that just because they want to build the community center for peace that they are 'really' thumbing their nose at people with some very sensitive feelings. The pastor and his book burning 'crusade' has made it very clear.... it is about hate..!

      I can't be a part of that, even if the law protects that right....

      Peace to you Al......

      August 21, 2010 at 3:57 am |
    • delphin

      real islam forbids preaching. don't judge islam by the muslims, judge islam by itself.

      August 21, 2010 at 4:37 am |
  14. Average American

    BURN ALL qurans!!!!!! Try taking a Bible to Saudi Arabia....... Have you ever thought as to why so many muslims come to the US and try to keep their old ways of living, and not adapting to westernn ways? They are here to change us! wake up people...

    August 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
    • James

      Spoken like someone who's never met an American Muslims. Unlike the sheltered right-wing bigots who claim that they're the "real Americans", I've actually met American Muslims. I've even lived with Muslims in college. I never found them to be less into civil rights than anyone else.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
    • American2

      American, you are abolutely right. Let's organize a burn the bible day. You can send out invites and bring all your friends. It will be a great demonstration of freedom of speech. I am sure all of the good decent "christians" who support buring the qu'ran would also support burning bibles as an expression of freedom in American.
      Unlike that nasty Saudi Arabia... we are FREE here in America.. right?

      August 21, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • delphin

      hey, average american: saudi arabia has over 50 christian churches and growing...so WTF are you taking about?

      August 21, 2010 at 4:35 am |
    • Burn 'Em All!

      WTF! Everybody outraged by burn a quran day and yet they can build a mosque 2 blocks from ground zero? And we're supposed to be "tolerant and understanding"? Were they tolerant and understanding when they murdered 3000 people on 9/11? H*ll NO! I say an eye for an eye. Burn the quran and everyone that reads it! Fly a plane into the mosque once its built during friday prayers! See how they like the "tolerance and understanding" they showed us 9 years ago!

      August 21, 2010 at 7:00 am |
    • shawn

      Uh, actually you could totally do that. People would call you an insensitive nutjob, but overall it would be ok, as long as you didn't violate any burn laws. Now try doing that in Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan, or Iran, but with korans. Hmmm. Yeah, we really are FREE, thanks. Try again.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • p53

      Average american: You are the average american reject. Your post only serves to convict yourself, of trying to convert other religions, to western ideology. This countrys constitution, and premiss for conducting deplomacy in other countries, is to promote freedom. That means freedom to live, and worship as a Muslim. Your rhetoric is disturbing, and has no place in America. As an American Citizen, born, and bred, I ask that you ,and other's like you LEAVE our free nation, and go somewhere, like.... One of those communist countries. You, and the likes, will feel more comfortable in such a place. Stop giving America a bad name. Your kind, are an embarrassment to the U.S.A.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  15. Bob

    Nice! Beautiful words.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  16. H

    People take one stereotypical glance at Islam, and suddenly think of Terrorism. What is sad is that they lack the understanding that those who harm others are considered extremists, and all of them take in every word of the Quran into a negative meaning. Christians have plenty of extremists: KKK, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism. plenty to write down. Few christians such as Judy lack an understanding that like all other religions, there are those that portray it incorrectly. Islam is the most peaceful religion you will ever find out there, with such beautiful explanations to life. This is a gift from God. Us muslims believe In Prophet Easa, who is called Jesus to Christians. The only difference is that we believe he was not the son of God. Yet we don't attack you Christians for believing what you want to believe. If he is the son of God to you, so be it! Be proud in you faith, because if you walk around criticizing other religions (pointing at Judy!) it seems like you are shopping for a new system of faith and doubting the one you are in! I don't know about you, but you seem very aggressive and insecure. These things people do are mind-boggling, I always sit and ask myself: how the hell could they sleep at night.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Personaly this just disgustes me. The way islam is portrayed as evil is just ridiculous. I am 15 years old and this makes me sick the way people in America treat muslims, As if they are lesser then christains. America was founded on the basis that all religions would be accepted and it absolutely infuriates me that people in this country would blatently ignore the constitution, just because a muslim extremist group blew up two towers. All in all we have killed 10X the amount of middle easterns civilians alone that died in the 9/11 attacks. I am in no way jsutifying the atacks but this is ridiculous I have literaly 0 faith left in America. If you truely want these events to be celebrated petition to get the constitution changed.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  18. Bob

    Why stop there? Burn bibles and all books tied-in with fairy tail religions that only a person of limited intelligence could follow...It's 2010. You learned about Santa at ~10 years old. Are you still dropping teeth under your pillow? Sorry your parents failed to tell you the other truths...

    People once believed the earth was flat.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • Bob


      August 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  19. toppz462

    Huh.....I thought every day was burn a quran day. Allah sure didnt do much to help the Afghans and Iraqi sas we wiped up the desert with them! And to Iraq Husssein Osama,,,we got all the introduction to islam we needed on 9/11. I find that instead of tissues the quran makes a great box of tissues!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • U 4 Real?

      I just took a dump and used your bible to wipe my bum clean; eat that fool!

      August 21, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • jonathan

      U4real ..go ahead my bible is intact..the one you used could have saved your life..soul...:)

      August 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  20. Natalie

    I don't understand the Muslim outrage. I understood in my brief studies of Islam that it is the words Mohammad spoke that were sacred, not the book in and of itself. Muslims recognize that the book was written by man. I understand being upset at the symbolism, especially when Christianity sets so much store by it's book written by man, but they do not hold the same beliefs.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • SC

      you CLEARLY have not studied Islam. Just about everything you said here about Islam is WRONG

      August 21, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • M.Delroba

      You obviously don't know !

      August 21, 2010 at 3:09 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.