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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. TheHonestFactor

    Maybe we should remember what 9/11 really means. It seems with the ten years that has passed, people forget to remember the lives lost instead of wasting time hating those who caused it. This is a day to love America and your fellow American, all the other days can be for hating.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  2. Respect Human Beings!

    Since when Bin Laden(Terry Jones) shaved his beard and started talking in English?

    August 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • javaer

      Absolutely right! Dove center understood Islam in the same way Al Qaeda did.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • notesham

      burning a book = killing 3000 people by flying into buildings?! pass me whatever you are smokinnnnnn

      August 21, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  3. vectrex

    i second "Enlightened Human" above!!!! take all the religious books and drop them from up in space and see if any survive on the way down! then we will all be happier!

    August 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  4. Stryfe

    while I hate the muslim extremists, and hope that the taliban and al-queda all burn in hell, this burning of the quran day is wrong in my opinion. this will send the wrong message to the muslims that are good people, and this is what we dont need, there is enough hatred and stryfe in this world without this so called "church" making it worse, maybe we should look at ourselves, we got this so called church, we got those other fools that protest at soldiers funerals, wake up America, we are just as much.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • freewoman

      may be you should put that wish in your preys to your christian god.. perhaps he will give you that one wish

      After all if those gods are good for anything they should grant those kill the b a s t ard prayers.

      If they don't then change gods.. I hear Allah is good for that request.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  5. sad for humanity

    I am very much saddened and disgusted by being proven right not to belong to a single religion (most especially a so-called christian denomination). I have several holy books from the world's many beautiful and diverse religions-including the Q'uran AND the Holy Bible. Regardless of how narrow and blind a person 's idea of faith is, to hide behind the right of freedom of speech is so very wrong. DO NOT FORGET THE CONSTITUTION ALSO GARANTEES FREEDOM OF RELIGION WITH NO SPECIFIC RELIGION NAMED. The United States is made up of many differing opinions and religions, but some of the posters here make me very embarrassed to call myself an American with them in the picture. On behalf of myself and others who actually believe in OUR CONSTITUTION AND MORAL STANDARDS -let me extend my deepest heartfelt apologies to our Muslim friends (of which I have many). Every religion has its extremists who distort your/our holy books to suit their purposes. You can honor the victims of 9/11 without denigrating others-please do so. Peace be with you all.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  6. Amy - who's name also means "beloved"

    Some people: The muslims have the freedom to build at Ground Zero, even if you don't like it.

    Some people: The church has the freedom to express themselves, even if you don't like it.

    I love America.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • freewoman

      Well with the mosque there at ground zero ,you won't have to some crazy hor ny b a s t a r d muzzy nut case looking for his 72 virgins –b a s tard, bombing the place to bits again.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • Amy - who's name also means "beloved"

      I don't even understand what that means. Please repost.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • notesham

      i think the missing words are 'to deal with"

      August 21, 2010 at 1:51 am |
  7. You peeps are nucking futs

    Can I bring the christian handbooks from my place? I've been wanting to get rid of them for a while now but don't think it's appropriate to just toss them in the waste bin.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • notesham

      sure.. and learn to fly a plane as well and kill innocents for your 72 virgins

      August 21, 2010 at 1:52 am |
  8. Summer

    I would encourage anybody who is outraged at the idea of burning the Quran, or any book, really, to try and locate the episode of The Waltons entitled The Book Burning. It deals with a situation very close to this one, and is so poignant that it moves me to tears every time I see it. I cannot recommend this episode highly enough.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  9. Miamiguy

    this is typical gainsville!!!!so ignorant and uneducated, step out of your religous bubble and learn about a different culture or religion before condeming Islam for the actions of few.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  10. vectrex

    for our civilization to survive all religions must be eradicated otherwise our planet will be destroyed not too long from now! it's scary when so many people write because they read a simple book of nonsense and fairytale characters!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH PEOPLE!!!!

    August 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • GINNY sue

      Amen, Vectrex!!!

      August 20, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • M.Delroba

      Are you a communist , atheist or a hipi ?
      well whatever you are, religion plays a great deal for billions on this planet! having faith in something beyond this is very real for many!

      August 21, 2010 at 3:14 am |
    • GINNY sue

      @MDelroba: Yes, Religion is VERY real for billions, that's exactly the problem. It's done the world good as history will show. All it does is sperate amd segregate with "justification".

      August 21, 2010 at 5:30 am |
  11. Zara

    Are you kidding me? YOu know how much drama/controversy this will stir up in the Islamic community? Wow...shameless. I guess 9.11 wasn't enough.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  12. Patriot in West(by God) Virginia

    I agree that it is legal, and i feel in very poor taste to burn these books. But then i know it's legal and in very very poor taste to build the (shrine) at ground zero. That is so much worse, I hope and pray that they can't get anyone to actually build that place.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  13. Asim

    A book that misguides and causes suffering to billions of people today and for the last 1500 years deserves to be burnt. Every single copy that exists today should be burnt so no one is ever fooled again by the evil authors of the book.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
    • Nasir M

      Asim,

      By burning Qur'an can you wipe out what is written in the heart of billions? Qur'an is in my heart.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Plectrum

      The insanity will not stop. It is a malfunction of the brain. Chemicals and toxins can drive people mad, too. Lines must be drawn.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:22 am |
    • Joe

      Asim why dont you try to remove every existing copy of Quran. Quran is in the hearts of Muslims. No one, I mean NO ONE can remove it from the hearts of Muslims. No one was ever able to change a single alphabet in Quran in last 1500 years let alone burining or removing every single copy of Qauran. Its an open challenge for the last 1500 years to make any changes or create one like that. No one ever was and noone ever will be able to create one like that. Its an open challenge why dont you attempt it.

      August 21, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  14. jj9109

    burning the quran shows we are no better then they are we must acept their difference we dont need to belive in what they do but we should at least let them belive in what they want, the Bible talks alot about treating others as the same to love thy neighbors burning the quran is going against what the bible teaches and what chrstianity teaches PEACE and BTW their have been numerous wars in the name of christianity so dont say were perfect

    August 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  15. Robert

    Christians, sadly, have difficulty resolving their hatred. They used to say "we hate Al Qaeda, but Islam is a-okay." George W. Bush said it himself.

    Now, in the era of Obama, they strangely feel the need to push themselves to the extremes, and make their hatred about Islam itself.

    Sadly, they actually play into the terrorists hands. The terrorists argue that Americans hate muslims. It seems right wing ideologues are more than happy to play right into their hands.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • freewoman

      mythology will be a death sentence to us all... then the gods will die too because there will be no one to believe in them and carry on their insanity,

      August 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
  16. VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM AND THE ACTUAL PRACTICE OF MUSLIMS

    Question:

    If Islam is the best religion, why are many of the Muslims dishonest, unreliable, and involved in activities such as cheating, bribing, dealing in drugs, etc.?

    Answer:

    1. Media maligns Islam

    1. Islam is without doubt the best religion but the media is in the hands of the westerners who are afraid of Islam. The media is continuously broadcasting and printing information against Islam. They either provide misinformation about Islam, misquote Islam or project a point out of proportion, if any.
    2. When any bomb blasts take place anywhere, the first people to be accused without proof are invariably the Muslims. This appears as headlines in the news. Later, when they find that non-Muslims were responsible, it appears as an insignificant news’ item.
    3. If a 50 year old Muslim marries a 15 year old girl after taking her permission, it appears on the front page but when a 50 year old non-Muslim rapes a 6 year old girl, it may appear in the news in the inside pages as ‘Newsbriefs’. Everyday in America on an average 2,713 cases of rape take place but it doesn’t appear in the news, since it has become a way of life for the Americans.

    2. Black sheep in every community:

    I am aware that there are some Muslims who are dishonest, unreliable, who cheat, etc. but the media projects this as though only Muslims are involved in such activities. There are black sheep in every community. I know Muslims who are alcoholics and who can drink most of the non-Muslims under the table.

    3. Muslims best as a whole:

    Inspite of all the black sheep in the Muslim community, Muslims taken on the whole, yet form the best community in the world. We are the biggest community of tee-totallers as a whole, i.e. those who don’t imbibe alcohol. Collectively, we are a community which gives the maximum charity in the world. There is not a single person in the world who can even show a candle to the Muslims where modesty is concerned; where sobriety is concerned; where human values and ethics are concerned.

    4. Don’t judge a car by its driver:

    If you want to judge how good is the latest model of the "Mercedes" car and a person who does not know how to drive sits at the steering wheel and bangs up the car, who will you blame? The car or the driver? But naturally, the driver. To analyze how good the car is, a person should not look at the driver but see the ability and features of the car. How fast is it, what is its average fuel consumption, what are the safety measures, etc. Even if I agree for the sake of argument that the Muslims are bad, we can’t judge Islam by its followers? If you want to judge how good Islam is then judge it according to its authentic sources, i.e. the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith.

    5. Judge Islam by its best follower i.e. Prophet Mohammed (pbuh):

    If you practically want to check how good a car is put an expert driver behind the steering wheel. Similarly the best and the most exemplary follower of Islam by whom you can check how good Islam is, is the last and final messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Besides Muslims, there are several honest and unbiased non-Muslim historians who have acclaimed that prophet Muhammad was the best human being. According to Michael H. Hart who wrote the book, ‘The Hundred Most Influential Men in History’, the topmost position, i.e. the number one position goes to the beloved prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh). There are several such examples of non-Muslims paying great tributes to the prophet, like Thomas Carlyle, La-Martine, etc.

    August 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  17. Enlightened Human

    Lets put the quran, bible, and torah's and a big pile and burn them all and enlighten ourselves

    August 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • Asim

      At least other religious texts teach some morality. the koran is the only one that has evil in it from cover to cover.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • Maximus Alexander

      @Asim: Have you read one?

      August 20, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      thats exactly what "enlightened" Hitler said!

      August 21, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • hippie

      @ asim...
      I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
      35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated
      to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

      Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
      around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
      19:27. How should they die?

      I would like to sell my daughoter into slavery, as sanctioned in
      Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair
      price for her?

      August 21, 2010 at 9:42 am |
    • hippie too

      @hippie
      if you were a muslim you'd probably know the answer to your questions. There is even an incentive if you're still hesitant...

      August 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  18. PARROT

    AS CATHOLIC I AM AGAINST ANY FORM OF HATE AGAINST OTHER RELIGIONS !!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
    • freewoman

      too bad the pope did not have the same belief when the Germans killed all those Jews.

      The pope supported and protected the mass killings by Hitler.
      And what about all that stake burnings by the pope... guess that old time religion just needs to be forgotten.

      Bruno.. burned... look him up to find out why and by whom...

      August 20, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  19. vectrex

    i meant 21st century....

    August 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  20. WM

    Prejudice and bigotry beget prejudice and bigotry. The sheer ignorance displayed by "pastor" Terry Jones is appalling. His lord and savior will have some words for him when he gets to heaven.

    "When books are burned in the end people will be burned too."
    – Heinrich Heine

    August 20, 2010 at 10:51 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.