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. Chuck

    We dont honor the 1st amendment or the 14th, the supreme court choses to interpret what the right leaning court supports
    Islam is not a peaceful reglion, the early versions were, it is now a political and legal system which includes Sharia law which dicatates how people will live and act, including lieing to others to further Islam, all of you on here should watch this video

    August 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  2. slordax

    gotta love those who aren't religious trying to persuade those that are to be tolerant of the other. if burning a sacred book to either religion is going to strengthen or weaken that respective religion, then i must say to re-evaluate the religion you've chosen to follow. it's the written word that should be cherished – not the bindings that hold it together. the old sticks and stones comes to mind. for those who aren't religious, well, it's not your argument, and you certainly aren't above those with the argument. faith is a powerful thing for any religion. let those religious leaders who have courage come together to resolve it.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  3. TyHouston

    condemned condemned

    Who cares, this is one of those media words that is over used and means nothing.
    Face it, Muslim of the world are NOT liked and will not be LIKED until they start to crack down on their own loons.
    You can compare this to Christian since the pope and the rest of the group "condemned" the majority of violence to the point of kicking those out of the church.

    After 9/11 you didn't get Muslims as a whole condemning the attacks you had snot nosed arrogant twits either cheering or arrogantly stating "Well, blame us all and we will sue. HA." no compassion there. Where were the main leaders? Saying nothing, praising the action quietly. US and British Muslims are the ONLY civilized ones since they are forced to be by civilized nations. The MAJORITY act like psychotics. And blowing up 3000 people for no real reason of that the worthless excuse of the crusades is not only evil but pathetic.

    When they grow up, and stop murdering someone for the excuse of some 600 year old war THEY started. They have no place in this world. But since they take 9 wifes multiply like mad and MURDER people for not believing or trying to leave....well there is your next Nazi Germany people, the next genocidial religious race....not the USA not the christians, not the buddists...

    August 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, I'll bite.
      I'm certain they will crack down on their loons. Just as soon as we do the same.
      Abortion clinics bombed. Planned Parenthood offices bombed. Mosques firebombed all over the country.
      One hell of an example we are!

      August 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  4. slief

    I for one am Jewish and think that burning a Quran is about as stupid as it can get. There are extremists in every religion. Its a part of life on every continent of the planet. Fortunately, the views of extremists don't reflect the views of the vast majority but sadly, in some cases the vast majority is persecuted based on the views of the minorites which in this case are the extremists. To alienate a complete religion because of the views and actions of radicals certainly isnt symbolic of this day and age where societies coexist in complete harmony. That is one thing I love about being born in raised in the US and living in California. Here in California, we live with people of all races, colors etc and from my perspective, everybody is transparent to me regardless of what there religion is or skin color.

    This is no place in this world for religous zealots, discrimination and race wars and burning of any religous symbol should be protested! These people should be ashamed of themselves and placed on an island away from the rest of the tolerant peaceful world!

    August 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Oh, he went one stupider. He also announced he'd burn the Talmud.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  5. Niwotmom

    @Abraham Lincoln
    Islam is as real a religion as any religion is. Of course they're all stupid and ridiculous, but it's no more stupid and ridiculous than the people who worship a magical space zombie and and simulate cannibalism of his body.

    Excuse me, but where in the hell did you come up with "cannibalism of his body"? You obvioulsy don't understand. Jesus himself said to his deciples "this is my body, take and eat, this is my blood, take and drink". Without, you will not have life with in you. This is NOT cannibalism.

    If you chose to not believe in God, that's your choice, but you mock the rest of us who do, with your ignorant comments.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  6. wrack

    you spend all day burning books or flags or symbols but the ideas behind them will go nowhere.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Alvin D


      Not knowing what you said, you said it.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  7. Dave

    If these idiots had ever read the Koran, they would realize that much of the Koran is virtually identical to various books in the bible. But since they are apparently too stupid to read, they will never realize that they are basically burning a book that contains many of the same verses as the bible.. I find that more than a bit ironic..

    August 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  8. Jeff

    It's all just a bunch of BS anyway, it's just an ancient fairy tale told throughout the ages...

    August 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  9. Dan

    This like saying, "My silly religion is better than your silly religion".

    August 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  10. Wzrd1

    Let's do this the easy way, should satisfy everyone.
    Feel free to burn any flag or book you are wearing.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Alvin D


      I like your sense of humor, but are you serious in putting objects above human life?

      August 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      When people who wish to use those objects to spread hate, dissent and violence, absolutely!
      This action will certainly cause his Islamic counterparts to do violence against our servicemen and women.
      Frankly, I truly wish he would step into the fire he places upon those books, perhaps he can prove how God is really on his side and protects him. If not, it would certainly make the world SLIGHTLY a better place, by one intolerant, hate spreading person!

      August 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • Alvin D


      Well....I hate to point out the obvious, but your aims conflict with your desires as expressed in your post.
      Can you defend people's minds by attacking them physically? Can you change how they feel by making them die – thereby doing away with what you purport to protect?
      Your views appear cross-eyed to me. I can only shake my head and type these words like they might mean anything to you.

      August 22, 2010 at 12:38 am |
  11. lateris

    So much for a religion of tolerance.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  12. Liz P

    Where in the Bible does it say, "burn the holy texts of my competitors"? I missed that part in Luke 6:27.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  13. David

    Why would people burn Qurans? It's just going to turn into wax.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  14. Mullah Lite

    I know ill be burning a copy, but I will soak it in pork fat first will burn alot longer then.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  15. dike

    I believe in equal rights. Treat the muslims like how they treat you. The same freedom and tolerance they give you in their country. Have any of you lived in a muslim country?.... have you read the news paper from any country around the world.... headlines every day.... in killings and fights.. one or both parties will be a muslim. muslim/islam is an antonym for peace. if the world were to treat muslims like they do other people there will be a fatwa on muslim.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  16. hello world

    That what the Muslims did when they raided the ancient libraries of other cultures. The logic was either it contradicts the Koran in which case it must be destroyed or it agrees with it in which case it is superfluous. Either way, burn baby, burn. Nice going.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  17. Double Standard?

    Why is okay (and deemed protected by our constitution) for a mosque to be constructed at ground zero despite an overwhelming majority of Americans opposing it (and by Americans I mean citizens, NOT our government)? Why is NOT okay for this guy to exercise the same freedoms of the same constitution?

    Why are muslims demanding that they not all be grouped together with the extremists and yet at the same time group all Americans with this dufus in Florida?

    Its a double standard and I for one am getting sort of sick of it.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  18. badfrog

    I will only burn a koran if a muslim is holding it...that way I can get rid of two evils with one match.....b. HUSSEIN obama grab your copy now

    August 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Sir, are you stating you wish to burn the President of the United States of America to death?

      August 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  19. Smiling Dawg

    In the end, when Anarchy comes, muslims will be fair game.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  20. Uncledede

    All I can say is...................." WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND". looks like the arabs are getting a little taste of their own medicine.
    They have been condeming the "infedels" since the KooKooran and the Bible came out as reading material

    August 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
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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.