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. Muhammadi lover

    mmm....interesting and pity!!!.........my message to the church is if the message and core purpose is to delete the holy quran from the world...then you need to all get ur facts checked becoz the holy quran is memorised in muslim hearts who are learning it in mosques. so it can never be deleted!!!!.....the more you burn the mor we'll print!!!........faith consists in the hert, burning the book wont decrease faith nor get rid of the truth!!!!!......PEACE TO ALL!....

    August 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      No, the act is purely designed to anger and spread hate.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  2. pkfops

    Gee what's next? "Kill a Queer for Christ Day"? Mao was correct when he said "religion is poison". If you can't worship in a civilized manner the your religion should be banned.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  3. SueS

    Perhaps some of you should actually READ the Koran. I have an English translation and have read it. The book says that believers should respect people of "the Book"... ie. Jews and Christians. Take some time to read the thing before you condemn it as "evil" and "lies">

    If nothing else, how about reading the Bible? ""But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you," (Matthew 5:44)

    Also, how about: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) from Christianity. Also, “Not one of you is a believer until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.” (Fourth Hadith of an-Nawawi 13) from Islam. Seems to me that there are plenty of "Christians" here not following Christ.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Alvin D


      It's shocking how many religious people like to divert attention away from all the contradictions in their holy books.

      For every quote you posted, an opposing quote can be found. That is the utter failure inherent in using religious quotes to make any sort of point. If you have something to say, would you PLEASE use your own words? Please?

      August 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, I can toss around verse too:
      1 Kings, 16.11: And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

      Actually, Kings seems to be FASCINATED with people who pisseth against a wall. Methinks the author did livest neigh unto the local tavern...

      August 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • ICEMAN

      NICE =)

      August 21, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
    • ICEMAN

      THAT nice remark was for sue but al, alvin i forgot your name but Tell me a quote that goes against what she said if you can't then don't post what you just posted or someone will pull your card HOMIE....SHOW ME

      August 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Alvin D


      You almost had me going there. Good shot.

      I leave it to you to read the whole bible. If you can't piece it together, I doubt anything I could post would really satisfy you.
      This isn't Sunday school and I am not your mama.
      And I appreciate your using your own words to communicate. That was the whole point of my post.

      August 22, 2010 at 12:51 am |
  4. dumb muslims

    hello, muslims, if there wouldn't be any death threats, then people wouldn't be wasting their time burning your 'sacred' books. turn the other cheek, and move on with your lives. it's called freedom of speech, people. this whole 'islam is holier than though' crap is getting old. this is america. if you want to practice your sacred religion, then go to the middle east, treat your women like garbage, and suicide bomb yourselves. good for this church for not being scared of the death threats.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • cathy

      Amen brother. ITA.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  5. JohnRJ08

    I will only support this day if these people agree to burn an equal number of Torah's, Holy Bibles, Gitas, and Books of Mormon. Oh, and while they're at it, they could burn the Constitution, too.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  6. Poohpoohman

    Amazing, the number of ignorant hateful people commenting here.
    Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma City bomber was raised Irish Catholic so lets all burn Bibles.
    Oh, and don't build any Christian churches near the Murrah building that was bombed.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  7. Chrissy

    Picture of mohammed {{:-o>> Lets see if CNN cares about the 1st Ammendment. I'll bet my free speech will be censored!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  8. Victor Cuadra


    Don't let the media lie to you. Get the truth.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  9. Gary

    As an Atheist I'm pretty open minded about what others want to believe in. Except I keep hearing about killing in the name of some religion. Or trying to create hate and discontent in the name of some religion. Wars started in the name of some religion that kills all kinds of innocent people that just got caught in the middle and they're considered inconsequential because they didn't believe in either side. Try living like I do and nobody gets hurt. Except for those that try to hurt others without reason. Or in the name of some religion. Just try it for a little while. You can always go back if you don't like it.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  10. RightWingMark

    The only time arabs are at peace is when they at war.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  11. Ray

    It's perfectly fine to burn down the World Trade Center, but to burn a Quran?? Perish the thought! The entire thing is basically a handbook for residual genocide – just ask out fearless leader, Barack Hussein, he'll tell you.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  12. VTer

    Just want to inject some common sense into the discussion of this hot topic. I hope these dumb-as people are not actually BUYING these Quran's with the intention of later burning them.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  13. jereniah chechik

    The National Association of Evangelicals issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions. Isn't that what 9/11 did? Sounds like the NAE is out of touch as the U.S. government.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  14. ACR

    I would like to take just a minute to say that Dove World is a disgrace and embarrassment for our town, our community, our state and our nation.

    Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida, it is forward thinking, enlightened, and Dove World followers are barely a spec on the map of this city. This town is not full of "backwater hicks," but well educated individuals and families that live and work and make their lives here. It sickens to me think that the world beyond our borders thinks the whole town and city is made up of these ignorant bigoted people.

    The town itself did not breed these people to be like this. I am convinced they were full of hate prior to even forming their so called organization. They are thieves of the government operating a business under the guise of religion. It is a mockery. A sham.

    It is in direct comparison to the fact that those few extremists in the Islamic community, tarnish and harm the reputation of Islam, muslims and the Quran. Like Dove World is doing to my beloved city.

    Please think before you associate this despicable organization with the city, community, state and nation in which it resides. It could easily be right in the middle of some big city in the Northeast.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  15. Chrystel Drummonds

    Where in the Bible does it say that being spiteful and hateful brings us closer to God? Tell me where in the Bible does it say that hating people for deeds done by others is the path of the true Christian? Please explain to me how following the teachings of Jesus Christ could lead to people intentionally trying to hurt another group of people? You awful people claim that you are exercising your 1st Amendment rights, but really what you are doing is the work of the devil. If you are a true believer, then cruelty and hate should never be pursued. If you want to prove that your path is the right one, your deeds should reflect that of the righteous, not of the evil and discontented. We all stumble and fall, but to hide your bigotry and ignorance behind religion and the constitution is just plain cowardly. If I were a Muslim, and I read the filth that some of you are spitting out of your foul mouths, my heart would be hardened too. This battle is not new....humanity has fought over religion from the beginnings of recorded history. But the internet makes it easier to spread the filth and the hate...especially those small minded people who are scared of change and scared of anything that is different. I will pray to God (no matter what you call him) and ask him to open your eyes to the true message. Religion is of man, but God is God. If you could only open your eyes, you would see that.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  16. Bill

    I have a quran which l will proudly burn.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  17. What do we stand for?

    A church is supposed to bring people to it through love, exemplary character and tolerance. We need to defend our borders and ourselves from the fundamentalist ideology and hate of others instead of becoming the very thing we are trying to defend ourselves from.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  18. RightWingMark

    The only time arabs and muslims are at peace is when they are at war. This applies to the last 3000 to 5000 years. I know Islam was invented about 600 AD so please dont go there.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  19. VTer

    I just want to inject some rationality into this hot topic. I hope they are not actually BUYING Quran's with the intention of later burning them. That would be a real shame.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  20. arzach

    It's clear to see that religion is the root of all evil. Get a life people!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:49 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.