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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. Robert

    All religion is silly, unprovable, nonsense that has caused untold human suffering and death throughout history. The only thing that separates us from the animals is superstition and pointless ritual. 😀 However, I believe in the U.S. constitution and will support the right of others to worship whichever "flying spaghetti monster" they wish.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  2. kevin812

    I wish lived near this place, I would show up with a Bible and toss it in maybe even a cross just to see how they would react. This is just more proof the terroist have won. They have won simply by terrorising Americans to the point that they no longer beleive in freedoms. But history has always show that the Christians have been the most terroristic people on the face of the earth.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  3. RWESTUPID

    I hope the following day is "Burn the Bible Day". That would be two positive steps in the right direction. Evolve people!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  4. Randy

    The leaders of the Dove World Outreach Center sound as though they are ignorant hicks who've never studied history,because if they had,they'd realize just how much they sound like Nazis of WWII Germany.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  5. Iba

    I wish all of you would wake up and realized that those of us against the idealogy of islam are not against muslims... we're against the teachings, practices, and lessons of islam... lessons that eventually lead to the persecution of religious minorities in majority muslim nations, second class status for women, a stagnation of scientific development, religious id cards to identify muslims from non-muslims, the destruction of local cultures, and religious education replacing secular education.

    Study up on islam a bit, and don't believe the press and CAIR about what a truly great religion islam is... if it was so dandy, it wouldn't need so much positive press time just to get 30% of us to believe it's actually peaceful. Fight islam, fight ignorance, fight for women's rights, and fight for the rights of minorities around the world.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  6. nate

    i wouldn't mind seeing them throw that other fairy tale in the fire. It is very comical to think deluded people are any more sane than other deluded people." I am less crazy than you." Burn the bible too or better yet trade smut for smut. Give porn in return

    August 21, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  7. Mike

    "Beware of false prophets."

    Those like Terry Jones, and various Imams who suggest passive violence like burning the Quran, or outright violence by sending out suicide bombers, they're of the same ilk~

    August 21, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  8. Concerned Floridian

    Nothing like practicing Christian principles of love, tolerance and forgiveness. Oh, and thanks for given the rest of the country another reason to laugh at Florida! Pack of ignorant schmucks!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  9. deuce

    I wonder how many Torahs were burned in Germany in the 30's and 40's?

    I've never been so ashamed of my fellow countrymen...

    August 21, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  10. Jason

    Leave it to Christians to be such hypocrites.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  11. Milton

    Our Lord Jesus Christ loved evryone. Please do not burn other faith's Holy Book. This will create more problems between relegions.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  12. obamalilmama

    I am a Muslim American, and I have no qualms with these people wanting to burn the Quran, as a Muslim yes it's upsetting. But is it relevant? No, burning the Quran does not erase It's word or MESSAGE. if anything it solidfies the POWER and fear of the Quran and ISLAM. And yes, many of you are right ISLAM is not a religion. It is a WAY OF LIFE. Islam dictates Muslims on how to live to be pious, righteous individuals. It is the last Message from GOD and it is the best message. The Quran is a truly amazing book. It has described medical miracles, and cures that are only just now being discovered. The Quran states the stages of childbirth that were recently only discovered by doctors in the 70's with sonograms. The Quran is a book of truth and anyone who reads it with an open heart will understand it. So I'm not upset at all, let them burn the Quran that is between them and Allah. As a true Muslim, these kind of antics really, really, show just how fearful some people are of a PERFECT religion.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  13. Jill

    They are burning Quran's to insult Muslims and yet the posters here still find Muslims at fault. Sad sad day.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  14. Nick

    The funny thing about all this is that there is really very little difference between Islam and Christianity. Muslims even follow the teachings of Jesus just as they follow Mohammad. They just believe he was a Prophet while Christians believe he was the son of God.

    But don't try to tell Christians or Muslims that thousands of years of hatred and warfare basically boils down to an argument over semantics.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  15. Flush1

    A Quran should not be burned. Using it to wipe your azz with is a much more appropriate usa for it.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  16. JB

    The Quran burning is nothing but a public display of ignorance. The most obvious problem with their event is – that we were not attacked by Islam on 9/11, we were attacked by al queda. I guess that fact doesn't play into their ridiculous ploy.

    So by their thinking, let's hope the catholic churches are next target on their list – they allowed pedophiles to mingle freely in their ranks. I can't think of anything more despicable than the sexual abuse of children.

    And Fred Phelps must be the representation of all baptists, right. So let's scorn the baptists.

    This is pure and blatant ignorance. The world would be a much better place without organized religion – it's a haven for the weak minded and the gullible. I'm with ghandi – “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This is a perfect display of it.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  17. lallenreports

    Sad to see America a land of hatred and intolerance. I pray that someday this country will move past such ignorance and be a leading model of freedom and justice.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  18. T

    Does this pastor even think before blabbering on public television? I am a devoted Christian myself and I have to STRONGLY disagree with what this pastor is trying to do. For a person who should be working on delivering God's message, is accusing all Islam to be evil. He just accused all Islam to be terrorists. Seriously, what will the burning of Quran accomplish other than piss off the terrorists even more. We are still at war in Afghanistan with our service men and women getting killed by bombs every day. The last thing we want to do is irritate them even more. I'm not saying that we're losing from the terrorists or anything because we aren't but we sure are losing lives of our soldiers. This pastor has just given the terrorists the most legitimate reason to continue attacking the United States and our soldiers with more violence and terror. Is this pastor any different from Islamic extremists?

    August 21, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  19. truefreedom

    Islam is NOT a religion. It is a political ideology that preaches and enforces hate, bigotry, racism, sexual and mental abuse, pedophilia, murder....the list goes on. There is no such thing as moderate Islam!

    August 21, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  20. MIKE

    so called christians are not reading the bible !!

    Preach the truth , confront false religions and evil !! That's being a christian !!!

    God bless Dove

    August 21, 2010 at 8:53 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.