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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. c.g.s

    This type of thing is precisely why I quit church and religion of any kind. Christianity and Islam are the most violent religions in history. The Bible and the Quran were written and compiled by men for the sole purpose of controlling the masses. Their scheme works wonderfully on the closed-minded believers. There will never be peace brought about by following these doctrines. Peace is absolutely contradictory to Christian and Islamic teachings.

    If you're going to believe, read the book you thump everyone with before you judge someone else for reading theirs. If you do, you'll find that judging someone else is a sin for you.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  2. Vijai

    The muslim religion is a sicko religion. Every Koran should be burned and every Muslim should be given the freedom to convert to any other religion without the inevitable non sensical fatwas. This will ensure world peace.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  3. vdiddy71

    For those who are against Muslims and Islam, how many of you have actually read the Koran or have friends who are Muslims? How many of you have researched and made a logical, educated decision about the Islam religion? Or is everything you know or believe in comes from the media? For those of you who believe everything that is printed, then you are victims of propaganda. The media prints what will bring the most revenue and controversy, do not be slaves to it.

    I became interested in all three monotheistic religions at a young age because I've always wanted to form my own opinions from facts, not opinions. I was raised Catholic, attended many other Christian churches, read about and attended Jewish temples and Islamic mosques. I've talked to people of other religions and have had close friends who refuse to even think about other religions because they believed as Christians, they should not even 'think' about other religions. From my findings and research, I KNOW in my heart that religion is a very personal thing and is very subjective.

    I feel no one should condemn another one's belief based on media. Do your research, do not be ignorant and do not be a pawn to media. Don't be blind. Be open-minded and if you are American, then believe in our constitution that our country allows freedom of speech and religion.

    Don't hate on Islam because all you know is what the media portrays which is EXTREMIST Muslims. Look up your local Mosque, meet a Muslim, learn before you judge.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  4. undecided

    I'm having trouble deciding whether this is right or wrong. It's insulting to muslims, yes. But is that wrong? We assume that it's wrong to insult people. But I don't think that's always correct. To a person who insists on doing something wrong, the most insulting thing you can do is show them the truth. In that case, I think an insult is the right thing. I guess the question is whether a book burning highlights the truth. It's a public condemnation of the evil teachings from that book. But is the whole book evil? And where is the loving symbol to balance the judging one? Seems like this will enflame emotions and do nothing to show love. I'm still undecided.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  5. Fish Gold

    when can we start burning Bibles.. Newton Third law, To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction..Soon they will start burning people.. This will be interesting when 2 billion People try to burn 1.6 Billion..

    August 21, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  6. Valerie

    I'm glad there are Christians in the area that are speaking up and saying "No, this is not right and not how we want to be represented." How embarrassing that a CHURCH is trying to create this "Burn a Quran Day"...talk about immature and un-Christian. I don't think Jesus would have done anything like this, and we are supposed to be living the way he lived on this earth. I hope supporters of this gain some wisdom on the subject and back away from this very counterproductive stunt.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • Hard Question

      @Valerie

      What would you say if it were a bunch of Satan worshippers doing all this? Would you commend them for following their religious beliefs?

      August 21, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  7. Brian

    and btw, it's not the muslim religion that's wrong....it's the fact muslims let sociopaths act as leaders and guide them in their day to day lives.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • NJ Bob

      Just like many Christians, especially in this country! The problem isn't the specific religion - It's religion in general.

      August 21, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  8. Matt

    The Abrahamic faiths are violent because the easiest way to thrive is to be the only people using resources. All the tenants of the bare-bones Judeo-Christian-Muslim belief structure exist so that the people living thousands of years ago could survive and be plentiful. Hating homosexuals, for example. Gays can't reproduce, so there's less people to carry on the traditions of the faith and culture. This stuff made sense when the Jews were wandering the desert for forty years, but few actually make sense in today's world. Don't kill anybody, don't steal from anybody, don't be unfaithful to your spouse – They're all common sense rules.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  9. Diane

    It is sad to see such ignorance and hatred being spread by a so called realigious leader. Christians have their own legacy of violence. I am unfamiliar with the teachings of Islam but, I assume that it is like any other realgion, one can find an excuse for any type of behavior if they look for it in the teachings of their holy book.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  10. Brian

    Its called the 1st Amendment.....they can expresss themselves in any way they see fit....oh wait, isn't this the same amendment they are referencing for the mosque in NYC????? Don't think I would want to be a church member there though...Remember, the muslim world wanted to behead a guy for writing a muslim cartoon!!! But they also practice religious freedom!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  11. Tom

    DID YOU EVER TOOK A BIBLE TO SAUDI ARABIA.... THE IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS WILL ASK YOU TO STEP ON THE HOLY BIBLE, THEY WILL THROW IT INTO THE TRASH.... PEOPLE TALK ABOUT PAIN, HOW PAINFUL IS IT FOR ME, TO WATCH MY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WORLD THROWN INTO THE TRASH

    August 21, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  12. DJHood32

    Why don't we throw in all religious books, a.k.a. fictional children's stories, and start from scratch?? We can do away with all of this religious nonsense once and for all and start using our brains, instead of following some books written thousands of years ago that were meant to herd in you followers like the sheep that you are!!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  13. Fish Gold

    So when can we burn the Bible?

    August 21, 2010 at 9:46 am |
    • Questions with a kick

      @Fish Gold

      What makes you think you need to ask someone else's permission to burn a book that you own? Go to it if that's what floats your boat...

      August 21, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  14. NJ Bob

    It happens again and again. Religion is and always has been a source of immense misery, suffering, ignorance, and destruction. It's time for humanity to rid itself from this curse once and for all. There's no god, no heaven, no hell, and Jesus ain't comin' back, folks! Grow up!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  15. DJHood32

    Burn, baby, burn!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  16. GwT

    "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."

    No, that would be the Spanish Inquisition and all of the Crusades.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  17. Tom

    YOU CANNOT BUILD A CHURCH IN SAUDI ARABIA, YOU CANNOT TAKE BIBLE TO SAUDI ARABIA, YOU CANNOT TAKE A CROSS ANY OTHER CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS TO SAUDI ARABIA. IN FACT, YOU CANNOT VISIT MECCA OR MEDINA IF YOU ARE A NON-MUSLIM... IS THAT RELEGIOUS TOLERANCE? MOST OF THE MUSLIMS WON'T SAY ANY THING ABOUT THAT. MOST OF THE MUSLIMS COMES TO USA TALK ABOUT FREEDOM... HOW MUCH THEYINFLUENCE AND TALK ABOUT THE FREEDOM OF THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN? AMERICA IS AMERICA BECAUSE IT CHERISHES CHRISTIAN VALUES AND MAJORITY OF ITS PEOPLE LOVES AND STAND FOR HUMANITY. THANK YOU USA

    August 21, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  18. Charles

    Isn't it funny, that we can build a mosque on a virtual burial ground, ground zero, and no one seems to care in government, but you mention burning a Quran or nuking the cube in Mecca, and everyone is up in arms. We can burn the flag, and the bible, but not the Quran?
    Stay classy America... double standards, are double standards.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  19. Questions with a kick

    So why can't someone burn a book that they own?
    And why would anyone make a big deal out of burning a stack of paper?
    What is the standard procedure for destroying a Quran that has been def!led?
    How many "Holy" books have already been burned without anyone notifying the media?
    If it is defiled by burning or by being handled by someone with evil intent, then wouldn't it be better to dispose of it properly?
    If people are too dumb to figure out how to defuse offensive behavior like this, is an extinction event too much to hope for?

    August 21, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  20. John

    The Quran is a book that was written from the heart of the devil in hell. It should be burned as planned on 9/11. However, even if the city of Gainesville does not allow an open fire burn, the church only has to have a contained fire in a fire pit that is insulated from the elements. That the city can't do a thing about. The city, in as much as it states that it does not disallow it from a standpoint of religion, actually does. Gainesville is perhaps the most liberal city in Florida and stands for anything that goes against God. I lived there for a short period of time and could not wait to get out.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • c.g.s

      And I"m sure they're pleased that you left. You probably moved to Jacksonville.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:46 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.