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. jbrazealle

    How about burn a musl!m and hang a ni^^er day? High noon on court square. Be there and pack a lunch. Drinks will be provided to all good white folks. Games for the kids. See you there.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  2. Keith

    Why doesn't cnn post a picture of a mosque that has a marquis showing support of judge walker's Prop 8 decision? Big deal, they show the Laodicean church(a false church that will be rejected by Christ). Show me just one imam or mosque that supports walker's decision. Certainly their "peaceful" tolerant religion will marry these people in their mosques. Perhaps CAIR should issue a public statement in support of judge walker's decision. Hello...islam...is anyone there????

    August 21, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  3. Jake

    If, you have to buy a Koran to burn it, then you are foolishly supporting the Koran publishing industry. If, you have one given to you, then by all means burn it (of course you will be polluting so keep an eye out for the EPA).

    August 21, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  4. Victoria

    Salmon Rushdie said it perfectly: SATANIC VERSES.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  5. homeless_joe


    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.

    and the bible was the inspiration for the crusades in which the church gave murderers, rapist, and all other sorts of people who committed heinous acts complete forgiveness of all sins before and during the crusades though most if not all of them didnt feel regret or remorse they just didnt want hell and they proseeded to rape and pillage Muslim innocents and warriors alike. this happend nine separate times. this also is not the only vile act commited in the name of the church. germans used chirstianity as part of their justification for killing jews. rapist that hide behind the cloth of the priesthood and many other atrocities.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  6. KarenAScofield

    The Forces of Good™ vs. The Forces of Evil™ dualism - that's what this church burning the Quran and calling Islam "the devil" is all about and somehow I doubt sowing more hate into 'loving-hate,' heh, interpretations of doctrines is going to tip the scales in favor of peace.

    We can both allow freedom of religion but say no to Sharia Law, a parallel legal system, ever becoming a reality on our soil. Just because some people's religion includes legal and political doctrines doesn't mean we let them steam roller us and take over America. Sometimes interpretations of freedom of religion, in extreme cases, have to be mitered in the spirit of 'the least restrictive alternative.' The same can be said for enshrining Christian prejudice-as-virtue like creedist heterosexism into law though (what are the "marriage protection" acts/referendums).

    August 21, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  7. LibraryLady

    Don't forget, Hitler was a Christian too. Guess that means our religion is full of hate as well...

    August 21, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  8. sharon

    People are devolving! It's like a Klan rally! Ignore the fools and don't give them press. Then arrest them for not getting the fire permit. I am so tired of this nonsense! We are not a theocracy and I refuse to allow us to become one.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  9. Jake

    If, you have to buy a Koran to burn it, then you are foolishly supporting the Koran publishing industry. If, you had one given to you, then by all means burn it (of course you will be polluting so keep an eye out for the EPA).

    August 21, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  10. Bill

    Great Idea where do I get one to burn!! They burn are flag we do nothing, they take down two tallest land marks in NYC we give them a a place to pray HELL NO!! Burn there Books yes I do agree

    August 21, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  11. Keith

    This is a great idea!!! I support them 100%!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • U 4 Real?

      Keiith-let's meet somewhere so i can beat your KKK ass

      August 21, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  12. Zach

    My grandfather spent 5 years in Nazi occupied Holland fighting for the resistance against this kind of ignorance and racially motivated idiocy. Islam has its bad apples. In case you didnt notice so does Christianity (crusades anyone?) Just because a small portion of one group commits a horrendous act in the name of religion doesnt mean you paint that entire religion with one broad stroke.
    Just like Crystalnaught all over agian.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  13. chefdugan

    Could I have just a few examples where the Muslims, especially their leaders, are promoting peace? You know, just a few.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • Jake

      Um, well there is.....hmmmmn! and there is......... ohhhh! Darn.... Alright I give up. Where is the religion of peace making peace?

      August 21, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  14. ronin48

    Hey, Barack - Gonna go on national TV at the White House and proclaim how in this country, people have the right under the First Amendment to express themselves by burning a book on private property if they so desire? Hey, Blomberg - Gonna have a press conference about how we should respect these people's First Amendment right to express themselves because respecting their rights builds tolerance and understanding? Yeah, I didn't think so.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  15. Rahman

    How dumb can can people be, it amazes me, know your scriptures and know your history, where the christians, jews and muslims have lived together for centuries, were thier is a few or more extreme people in ALL these religions, that are causing alot of damage and have always done so and we are told of these people in all our scriptures.

    But ill be here all day if i start explaining to some of u pathetic people.

    Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, but the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in iraq and afghanistan, WHY? AND it was proven by 15 diffrent scientists from all over the world that the 9/11 planes were NOT hijacked and NOT passenger planes and the fall of the towers were SETUP.

    my condolonces to the family of

    August 21, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  16. James

    Don't join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

    August 21, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  17. Keith

    Where are all the pictures of a mosque's marqius showing support of judge walker's decision on Prop 8? cnn likes to show a Laodicean church's sign. Certainly islam embraces these people, too. They will marry them in their mosques, won't they?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  18. freewoman

    a muslim man cuts his wife's head off.. you never heard another world about the trial. a muslim man murders 13 American soldiers at a military base in the US and he sill get his military pay from the tax payers. and the best medical care on the planet. never a word on his trial.. bet he will be pampered the rest of his life.
    so tell me a US veteran and woman, that we must be tolerant of Islam....i did not serve my country to allow women to be beheaded or our military personal to be slaughtered by muslims on our own soil.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Alvin D


      Did you take an oath before serving our country? What sort of oath was it?

      August 21, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  19. God is Dead

    I don't see a problem with burning the Quran, but they should get the fire started by burning a few Bibles and Torahs, so they make sure the fire is good and hot.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  20. Bill van

    Muslims need to lighten up! Don't forget to draw mohammed {{:-o>>

    August 21, 2010 at 11:08 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.