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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. Unknown

    As an agnostic, I wish goodwill to both the religious and non-religious people who don't shove their views down each others throats

    August 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  2. Unknown

    As a non-religious person, I am disappointed with both the religious and non-religious people on this board.

    August 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Unknown

    as a non-religious, I am so disappointed with both the religious and non-religious people on this board

    August 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  4. Aww

    I tell you that a lot of us (muslims) abhor violence in whatever form. Believe or not. Burning the Holy Quran will not change anything. Infact it will make it more popular. Wish you luck.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  5. john the baptist

    I am against burning a Quran we should burn at least two or three at a time just like the Muslims burn and ban the bible and kill Christian people who read or carry the bible

    August 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  6. Uzair

    Can you please stop this event

    August 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  7. lilah

    Its a real shame that the only thing you sick people can come up with is to burn the Koran, i bet there's a lot of people who hate christianity but do they ever burn the Bible or call it a religion of the devil!! no, they don't so you are a very sick and stupid person to think that burning it is the rite way. Have you ever even opened up the book, looked into the religion. This is not the way of peace, not at ALL!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  8. richard Kurtti

    What absolute madness!!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  9. lilah

    Its a real shame that the only thing you sick people can come up with is to burn the Koran, i bet there's a lot of people who hate christianity but do theyever burn the Bible or call it a religion of the devil!! no, they don't so you are a very sick and stupid person to think that burning it is the rite way. Have you ever even opened up the book, looked into the religion. This is not the way of peace, not at ALL!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  10. USNavy

    This is just as sad as them wanting to build that mosque by ground 0... Stay out of ground 0 and let this issue die down before it leads to a bigger war

    August 21, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  11. Abs

    Absolute disgrace. The terrorist attacks were carried out by individuals who were misguided into believing they were doing it for a good cause. One of the fundamentals rules of Islam is that one must never take another life (there are exceptions, war, self defence) so those attacks go against our belief. Without clearly understanding anything these so called christians are willing to burn a book considered holy by billions? Way to go, if anything, this will do nothing but make the unjustified tension between east and west even worse.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  12. shawn

    Muslims sure play the victim card well. That's why it's a growing religion... it supports weakness. No shortage of weak people in the world. I swear the world is getting dumber and dumber.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  13. XYZ

    Islam indded means peace. Remember the ministy of peace in Orwell's 1984.

    August 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  14. AH1942

    Adolf would be so proud....pathetic action

    August 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  15. verify

    This just goes to show you what religious zeal will do to a person... drive one stark, staring mad.

    I'll bet Jones thinks that he talks to Jesus and Jesus tells him in their chats to burn Qurans. I'll bet he'll even pull a quote or twelve from the Bible to justify his madness.

    Oh, but Jesus tells *you* something different, eh? Hmmmmmm.....

    August 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  16. (B)iraq Hussein Osama

    "Islam's Indian Slave Trade"
    thank you! now go to a non-racist site like wikipedia and type African Atlantic Slave Trade and learn your own ugly history. Look in the mirrror before pointing fingers at others, you may learn you are uglier than the person you are pointing fingers at!

    August 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  17. Think007

    Why do that actions of a few people create such negativity towards the group of people in which you choose to classify them? Not all muslims planned and executed the 9/11 acts. Just as not all Christians were not part of the crusades. Seems to me that there are individuals or groups of people that have agendas in the world to gain wealth, and use the prejudices that we all so easily create to hide the truth. Maybe 9/11 benefited someone in the world but they used this religious tension to hide their selves amongst all this nonsense. Maybe the crusades were not about religious persecution but an individual’s reason to rob, steal, and kill their way to wealth and power? Or maybe I’m just really paranoid?? But I do find it funny how the three religions that worship the same GOD fight amongst themselves!!! If you don’t know which three religions those are just go Google it. This internet invention is amazing !!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  18. Captain Steve

    Read the koran. Know what it teaches. Islam is evil.

    -Regarding infidels (unbelievers), they are the Muslim's "inveterate enemies" (Sura 4:101).

    -Muslims are to "arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere" (Sura 9:5)

    -seize them and put them to death wherever you find them, kill them wherever you find them, seek out the enemies of Islam relentlessly" (Sura 4:90).

    -"Fight them until Islam reigns supreme" (Sura 2:193).

    -"Cut off their heads, and cut off the tips of their fingers" (Sura 8:12).

    – If a Muslim does not go to war, Allah will kill him (Sura 9:39).

    – A Muslim must "fight for the cause of Allah with the devotion due to him" (Sura 22:78)

    – Muslims must make war on the infidels (unbelievers) who live around them (Sura 9:123).

    – Muslims are to be "ruthless to unbelievers" (Sura 48:29).

    – A Muslim can kill any person he wishes if it be a "just cause" (Sura 6:152).

    -Anyone who fights against Allah or renounces Islam in favor of another religion shall be "put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off alternative sides" (Sura 5:34).

    -Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him. Sahih Al-Bukhari (9:57)

    -Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. (Koran 9:5)

    August 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • danbeaches

      2 Chronicles 15:12-13
      And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.

      Deuteronomy 7:3-4
      You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

      August 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  19. reem

    huh and u call muslims terrorists !
    this is very brutal and bestial.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  20. Danton

    "Burn a Qu'ran Day" ? Wow. This from the same bunch of GARBAGE that used The Holy Bible to justify the enslavement of Africans and the "civilizing" of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and other parts of the World.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
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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.