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. chefdugan

    They only got it half right. If you really want to straighten out the world burn all the bibles as well. Then all the ministers and pastors will have to get a real job and the Catholic Church, along with other organized religion, will go away. Then, at last, we will have world peace.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  2. justacomment

    I used to sit back and not pay alot of attention to the islam religion. As a christian I did not agree with it of course but I figure live and let live and be idle about it. But the more I have seen murder, stoning, beheading, etc. from that particular group and they sit back and use their religion as a backdrop for all of it pretty much makes me realize we have a problem here. I have yet to turn on fox news and see where a radical christian group from the bible belt used the holy bible as a backdrop to murder pillage and blow up other human beings on this planet. I am pretty sure we will be fighting these fanatics on our own soil in a very short period of time because they seem to not know any better. I think we as christians as a whole need to realize that they have no respect for our religion and plan to make sure we are extint before its all said and done. Thats what they are taught from a young age. Burning a Kuran is a small drop in the bucket compared to what they plan to do to us when its all said and done.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  3. Ptolomaeus

    It is exactly this kind of radical, fundamentalist idealism that brings about events like 9/11. Islam is not "the devil". The devil is radical fundamentalism in ANY religion. This pastor cites what has been done in the name of Islam? How about what has been done in the name of Christ? 300 years of torture and murder by such small minded people as this Terry Jones. How would Pastor Jones feel if people gathered to burn the Bible? The majority of Christians and Muslims are good people. It's the small minded people like Pastor Jones and Osama bin Laden that bring strife. If anyone is the enemy, in a religious context, it is all radical fundamentalist off-shoots of any religion. What next, Pastor Jones? Fly a 747 into a mosque or synagogue, burn heretics who don't ascribe to your brand of Christendom at the stake, stone them, hang them?? Yes, Pastor Jones, your a tolerant, loving, Christian man, right? NO!!! You're a ZEALOT, just like OSAMA BIN LADEN. Reexamine the writings about Christ and you might learn a thing or two, such as tolerance and compassion.
    Self-righteous zealots like you make me sick, Pastor Jones! You're just as bad as bin Laden and the Taliban.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  4. Ken

    Besides the whole issue that people who participate in a book burning are hate mongering, the Quran (or Koran) is not the problem. It is how the book is interpertted by fanatics that leads to issues. Remember in history how the bible was interpertted by thos of the Spanish Inquisition to support their actions? How often do we hear of other modern day fringe group followers of many religious faiths who carry out questionable or what we consider illegal actions. You might as well burn bibles because of all the pain and suffering they led to due to fanatics following their own views based on they book.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  5. freewoman

    all my posts are being monitored... we can't upset the myth makers..they are sensitive to any criticism to their gods and dogmas.
    They can take over our free society and lock it into mythic madness. But we can't tell the truth of their
    dead peoples crazy myths.
    a thousands years from now those crazy desert gods will go the way of the other gods... lost in the graves of those who fell for the lies. and die for it.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  6. Whatdoyouexpect

    Your ALL worshiping NIMROD and TAMMUZ !!!! Semiramis and the magical pregnancy of Tammuz , long after Nimrods death is the same story, slightly different of Christs magic birth......etc....etc.... Your ALL worshiping BABYLONIAN STAR GODS AND THE STORIES THAT GO WITH THEM!!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  7. Mike

    To the rest of the world, not all Americans are this stupid. It just makes good news.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  8. cnj5954

    If man extols his own faith and disparages another because of his devotion to his own faith, and because he wants to glrfity it he seriously injures his own faith. – Ashoka

    August 21, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  9. genuiness

    this may lead to why 911 happen, someone wanted to create hatred towards Muslims.
    As Muslim person , my religion doesn't teach me to blow myself up or slaughter innocent lives and anyone who
    does this doesn't represent Islam.
    even this day, they still go on about mystery that has taken place about 9 years back and I personally still don't believe
    Muslim were behind such sophisticated terrorist attack.

    Whoever did it, they sure wanted to make Muslims worse people in the world rather than terrorizing America.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  10. Ali

    the should never happen, it would only make things worse. what happened in the past can't be changed.. maybe its time for us "humans" to forgive each other and love each other.. I wish 1 day whole world live in a peace and forgiveness

    August 21, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  11. freewoman

    the bible is a joke... and there is now proof... a roman joke... It was created to force the Jews to worship Caesar..without them knowing it. it worked and still does.
    Titus wanted everyones money and to be worshiped as a god... like all Caesar's did. Titus is the son of god...as his father was the god of Rome.
    you got to know that history... romans were a very cruel but had a sick sense of humor...

    August 21, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  12. Stoprunning


    whats the difference between these people and the freaks burning our flag in the Middle East?

    I got an idear- gtfo of my country and move to the holy land if you want to be like them.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  13. OOBE

    So who's god is merciful enough to handle this?


    August 21, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • HCBforlife


      Do you mean merciful as in vengeful? Or merciful as in jealous? Or what? Elaborate please.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  14. nooffensepls

    Quran: license to kill, license to lie.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  15. Whatdoyouexpect

    Funny, where were you all when Bush had a copy of the Quaran introduced to the White house library and other places like the library of congress.........Just another distraction.......Trying to make BHO your fascist scapegoat......Try running on your merits GOP...........wait, you have none......other than protecting your corrupt handlers, Corporate America, at the cost of the people your supposed to SERVE.....

    August 21, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  16. Apalled

    I am just appaled that a "Church" would even think that burning the "Karan" is acceptable. To live in the world that we live in and do so peacefully we should respect the beliefs of one another. We may not agree with it and no one says we have to but we should rspect it. And while a great number of Muslims are violent there is also great number that are not. The Teachings of the Quaran itself is not of violence. Like all religions each group takes the the bible or quaran and gives it's own interpretations. Which is why you have different sectors of Islam just like we have different sectors and denominations of Christianity. The Dove World center is putting out country in danger of retaliation by radical Muslim groups. We are trying to end a war and they are inciting one. If harm comes to this country as a result of this "Karan Burning", the leaders of this organization should be held repsonsible. Now think about how it would feel to know that you caused harm to come to thousands from simply striking a match and setting a book on fire.

    The Irony of it all: While they are promoting burning the guide of the so-called Violent Muslims. Many Muslims are promoting peace and understanding. And offering to educate others on the teachings of the Quaran.

    As a Christian – I think Peace, Understanding and Education is a much better solution than burning of one's religious guide and promoting violence.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  17. dan

    Burn Obama's first

    August 21, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • dan

      Apalled I am appalled that these Muslims took down the World Trade Center and killed 2,000 people. These people do not belong in America. They hat America and what it stands for. Why should we put up with our enemy?

      August 21, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • dan

      Muslimes hate us . They hate the way we live,our freedom,our beautiful land .They want to take over our country so we all can either die or become Muslims. To them ......... not going to happen while I am alive

      August 21, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  18. Crazy Radical

    It's pretty obvious that Islam is not a religion of peace and understanding. It's all about world domination.

    Now, I don't care if they would want to dominate the world like today's Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, etc. in a peaceful movement. They're perfectly fine to try to dominate by persuasion and dialogue. But when force or coercion is used, then it becomes tyranny or absolutism, and this clearly is their plan and has been throughout history.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • lilah

      its also pretty obvious you have no idea what you're talking about

      August 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  19. rkm63

    You lefties might want to stop trashing christians, you're going to hurt your christian presidents feelings. LOL

    August 21, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  20. awtom

    ya this is cool i cant wait to burn mine

    August 21, 2010 at 10:47 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.