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. Bill

    Draw mohammed! mohammed facing East {{:-o>> mohammed facing West <<o-:}}

    August 21, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  2. RockJock

    What is burning the Koran going to accomplish except for making the division between chirstians and muslims wider?
    It's just like the proposed ground zero mosque; people say it's being built to heal old wounds and bring peace, but what has it done so far? It's pissed a lot of people off and the majority are not happy about it. People have said that Islam teaches love, peace, tolerance and understanding and yet Imam Rauf and his wife have said that the building of the mosque will continue despite the opposition. Where's the tolerance? Where's the understanding? Meanwhile Imam Rauf has said that he would accept donations for the building from Iran (who calls for the destruction of Israel and the west) and from Saudi Arabia where 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were from.
    Oppose the mosque, gripe about the Imam's hypocrisy where the Koran teachings are concerned, but burning books? Not a good idea. Reminds me of some whack job in Germany that burned books he didn't agree with too.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  3. emma leniuk-dozois

    This is a very sad day for everyone,we should be respecting each other ,living side by side worshiping with out fear or anger,not burning books no no no no do not burn some ones religous books please or you will bring shame to all of us,in my famiily there is a melting pot of different religons,catholics,protestants,christians,and one who just prays to the almity,but we all love one another and respect the religous path they chose ,I hope you reconsider

    August 21, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  4. txstubby

    As usual politicians are creating up a populous storm to suite their own agenda, in this case it's about Muslims or immigrants. How many times will the masses fall for this trick, whip up a religious/xenophobic fervor about one thing as a distraction from something else.

    I wonder about the future of America, our current political classes seem to think that winning at any cost, irrespective of the fault lines it creates in society is a good thing. Rather than a rational discussion about how to cure our economic woes the media, at the behest of our political masters seems to be concentrating on anything but the fact that neither party has a solution.

    It your don't have a solution distract the plebs with something else – that seems to be the current motto of our politicians.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  5. Alex

    Islam is a violent religion?! And christianity isnt?! Have you heard of the crusades?! Or the spanish inquisition?!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  6. Ginger315

    More power to the Dove Church for standing up for what they believe in.........they are not spineless....Islam and Christianity can not coexist.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • Gil T

      This is hardly a stand or a belief. It is quite likely they can no more provide an account for their actions anymore than they could explain to the lost the gospel message of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Again, this inability is on par with others who commit their acts of desperation. Hardly something to be lauded, Ginger.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  7. Victor Cuadra

    The media and people in the Islamic community are lying to you.

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com - Get the facts.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  8. samael

    I am all for the freedom to practice any religion in this country. I love that we can practice freely without fear of persecution.

    I don't see the same freedom in countries where Islam is the majority religion.

    I think it's interesting that Muslim groups want to distribute 100000 Korans. If you tried to distribute 100000 Bibles in their countries you'd be murdered.

    The vast majority of muslims live in countries like this. It's hard to believe the notion that Islam is peaceful when these things occur on a daily basis.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  9. Victor Cuadra


    Stop letting the media lie to you.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  10. Victor Cuadra

    61% of the content in the Qu'ran is about persecuting and killing non-Muslims. (63% according to a different study)

    August 21, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  11. andrew

    Burn a Quran day? BEST DAY EVER!!! I think we should make EVERY day Burn a Quran day!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  12. Victor Cuadra

    www . thereligionofpeace . com

    Get the truth.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  13. Gil T

    The proposal of burning copies of the Quran makes some of the participants a warm feeling in their heart. That is a deception equaled only by others of like minds who despise life and love and in similar desperation resort to suicide bombings and the like. As usual, it always takes the leadership of a nut case for others to follow him. One can only wonder what perversion is in the works as a sequel to retain their mesmerized followers.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  14. Victor Cuadra

    Islam does not preach about peace and tolerance. www . thereligionofpeace . com - Educate yourself.

    From the Hadith:

    "Muslim (1:33) – the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah"

    August 21, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  15. Don

    Lets not forget about the bloody crusades before we as Christians call Islam a bloody religion that preaches violence etc. etc. Or what about Paster Jim Jones Remember him Gainesville? I am so glad I no longer live in the bible belt of this country, where not-for-profit churches are everywhere and there pasters live in 100,000+ homes and drive 50,000+ cars. When not do a few iReports on that CNN?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  16. Bible Burner

    Personally I plan to burn a few Bibles that day. Anyone care to join me?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  17. Keith

    Does islam in general support judge walker's decision on Prop 8?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  18. USARight

    Shame on all you people that are against this and not the building of the mosque near ground zero. Again an attack on this national christian roots and hyper political correctness toward muslims that starts at the top (Obama.) The muslims are trying to have it their way only, they are trying to use our systems against us. But it should go both ways, EQUAL rights for everyone.
    Yes you have extremists in the muslim faith, but the none extremists are not very vocal about them, they don't criticize them, they are happy to let the extremists get the blame for their own goals. In that way none extremists can condemn anyone that has any negative comments about the islamic religion.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  19. Rahman

    I cant believe how dumb people can be, know your scriptures and know your history. The christians, jews, muslims have lived together for centuries, their are extremists in ALL these religions, that are causing alot of damage. we are told of these people in all our scriptures.

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

    But i would be here all day explaining to some of you pathetic people.

    My deepest condolonces to the families of 9/11 on the anniversary..

    August 21, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  20. Don

    Lets not forget about the bloody crusades before we as Christians call Islam a bloody religion that preaches violence etc. etc. Or what about Paster Jim Jones Remember him Gainesville? I am so glad I no longer live in the bible belt of this country, where non-for-profit churches are everywhere and there pasters live in 100,000+ homes and drive 50,000+ cars. When not do a few iReports on that CNN?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:34 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.