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. R

    I am curious to know if a small group of Muslims decided to have a burn a bible day would a larger number of Muslims rise up and condemn it and be so vocal about it?

    August 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • freewoman

      the christians would love it.. then they can print more to replace them...
      The holy profit of prophet.

      there is nothing like the big tax free business of religion. GET RICH!

      August 20, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      does not matter what muslims rise or not, according to their religion, parts of the Bible are revelations from Allah to earlier Prophets. If you do not believe that, your Islamic belief is corrupted to the point that some scholars would consider you out of Islam.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:02 am |
    • junaid

      as a muslim, and i can speak for any other muslim in my community when i say that yes we would condemn it. In islam we believe in jesus, we have a term that we refer to christians and jews "people of the book" – we respect the bible and torah, anyone disrespecting them would me seen as wrong in the eyes of most muslims.

      but i would also like to mention, we need to be tolerant of ALL religions... we need to learn and understand other cultures because this creates an environment of peace and understanding. As americans we need to stand together- it will make us stronger as a nation. Anyone who tries to divide us only weakens the U.S.

      its unpatriotic to try to weaken our nation.. those of you who hate are the most unamerican

      August 21, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  2. burnbabyburn

    Your only allowed to burn things in this country if your a leftist, if your on the right it just makes you a bigot.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • junaid

      NO... your a bigot if you hate a whole group of people baised on an unjust bias... This group is doing precisely this, hating and being intolerant of another group. That makes you a bigot, and in case you dont understand what that means....

      from dictionary.com
      a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  3. Loren

    Try to get caught with a Bible in Iran and see what happens to you!

    August 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      you 'd probably end up in Guantanamo!!

      August 21, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  4. stevensw

    why burn? what else will we use for toilet paper?

    August 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • junaid

      your creating more hate.... i have nothing against you and wish you no harm but if you try burning my book, whats stopping me for defending myself or even retaliating in kind.

      have you actually thought about why muslims in that community or all of america for that sake havent said lets start a bible burning day? if you think muslims are evil then logic says they would have no problem burning bibles... The problem with that is, muslims believe that jesus is a prophet and that his words should be respected. We respect the bible and torah and believe in the same prophets as christianity and judiasm. We should all learn to respect other religions, thats part of being american. Those who want to burn the quran are the most UNAMERICAN of us. I hope you look past your ignorance and learn to accept.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  5. SunlitMoon

    As a Christian, this seems like the stupidest thing Dove World Ourtreach Center (DWOC) can do, and definitely not consistent with Biblical principles and the commands from Jesus Christ. Since He Himself was going to die to pay for their wrongs, Jesus said to pray for our enemies and not to return evil with evil - burning Qurans during the month of Ramidan (sp?) sounds like picking a fight, not like turning the other cheek. 1 John 4 says anyone who says he loves God but hates his brother or sister (any man or woman) is a liar and can't possibly love God, whom he can't see, if he so easily hates the person next to him whom he can see. Thoses attending the DWOC would see burning of bibles as an action of hate, wouldn't they? Christians wouldn't look so stupid and obnoxiousall the time if we wouldn't pick and choose what of the Bible we want to live today. Sorry DWOC but i think you got it wrong.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • lorgat

      My friend as a muslim i agree with you,i hate those extremists.all this time they wanted a war with the west but did not work out because majority of the wordls muslim population did not respond to their call and they are not winning the war,you see by burning the quran it is going to open up a new front where extremist will exploit to the fullest.lot of emotions are going to run high and they will start recruiting people to start a new war here in the u,s.few crazy people on both sides can start something very big and the next you know it you can not stop.the way way things are going on i fear for all religious groups who are the majority and innocent like us.i wish you my friend and we hope they dont start burning qurans because dont take likely when it comes to that.i just hope and pray the refrain from that.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:16 am |

    Judy Haught.. what kind of person are you. Please explain what land you own "All of these greedy people are selling our birthright to the highest bidder". honey America isn't your land first and formost...second being a Muslim i would never wish this kind of unhumunly act on any religion. Islam means peace... And you my dear you are no better then Hitler himself and that also goes for the ppl who are promoting this event and the ones who attend it....Judy Haugh, " If we had started working on an alternative energy source in the 1960's we would not have this Islam problem now". To me it seems like you more angry at the fact that the middle east has oil. you are simply an uneducated person who is greedy for money...SO PLEASE FIND YOURSELF A JOB...

    August 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • jdnobody

      check out faithfreedom.org, islam-watch.org, religionofpeace.com/org
      islam is a violent hate mongering cult.
      A moderate muslim is either a not-true-muslim or a liar.
      Followers of Quran, the war manual,
      are not allowed to live peacefully co-exist with other faiths.
      If they are, they are doing so to simply bide their time,
      building up the critical mass, the numbers.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • Islamoqazi

      Islam is a religion of peace? why don't you preach that to the muslim terrorists? If burning a stupid book means so much to you, what about entire civilizations and cultures islam has burnt throughout history? Get used to it... it is only starting. Why is it that muslims invoke, peace, solidarity and humankind when it is time for them to build a ground zero mosque or quran burning time?

      August 21, 2010 at 1:37 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      if you want to see how cults like nazism started that eventually gassed six million jews to death, check out faithfreedomorg

      August 21, 2010 at 1:57 am |
    • notesham

      faithfreedom.org is by an ex-muslim who dismantles every single islamic argument and claim. He has a death fatwa on his head yet he is braving valiently. He has defeated islamic scholars using their own logic, that is why islamists have their nuts in a knot when they hear about faithfreedom.org!

      August 21, 2010 at 3:13 am |

    Hey KjsSmith, you had a good ? at the end" just had to throw that in there" but do you know who spilled more christian blood than the Muslims and Islam combined? the RCC just think about all the other people of different religions they were killing in the name of the lord. These guys who say they are burning books needs to burn there own cause it's not the right bible, RCC took books from it, Changed Jesus from black to white, i could go on for days but they need to be looking into there history to find the truth instead of worring about other religions.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  8. USveteran59

    Burning books no matter what they are about is wrong . I cant agree with this churches stand . They are no better than the putrid bunch that are protesting at the funerals of our war dead. Im not big on the muslims but I can understand that we have killed far more in the name of my God than they have in the name of theirs. What most cant understand is that a relationship with God is a highly personal experience . It dosent require a church or a congregation . These people are scarey .

    August 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  9. GINNY sue

    What if you woke up tomorrow and there were no more bibles, qurans, torahs. Would you be able to get through the day? Would you know the difference between right and wrong? Would you be able to follow your internal moral compass? Would there be any more chaos in the world without these books, I think not. Organized religion makes people crazy, it's quite a business.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      Hitler would have loved that! He may have even hired you as his propaganda secretary.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:56 am |
    • GINNY sue

      Mr. Iraq Hussain Osama, I'm not suggesting anyone burn books, I'm just asking if you could live a "moral", "decent" life without a book to guide you? Simple question. I can assume from your previous response that you don't think you could.

      August 21, 2010 at 4:50 am |
  10. 1guytalkin

    I agree that this is a sad comment on those people in Florida who pretend to be Christians. However, there are true Christians, jews, muslims and other religious people who condemn this intolerent action. Why is it that you hear from Christians, Jews and many others who condemn this type of hatred but Muslims will never condemn a fellow Muslim no matter how horrible their actions?

    August 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • slam1

      probably because islamoqazis have selective memory and an ulterior agenda?

      August 21, 2010 at 1:41 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      probably because the extremists are right! you are peddling weapons of mass destruction all over the planet. you have had two world wars that almost destroyed all of humanity and you gassed millions of jews to death in the most cold bloodedly manner possible. you are war mongerers, while you tartly peddle around the myth that you are peace makers. its hard to disagree with the extremist muslims, even thought their method of exacting justice is unpalatable.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:55 am |
  11. southernrebel

    Kill em all and let god sort em out. Religion has been the reason for all the wars this country has fought and i dont care who says it isnt because they are a darn liar.Get rid of religion and let chaos reign.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  12. roshinobi

    That's the day UF plays USF. No one here will notice their little neo-nazi rally.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
    • slam1

      aww how cute! labeling everybody that doesn't share your viewpoint as neonazis. Did you know that Islam has no much in common with nazism? Both hate the jews. Both have conducted progroms and genocides. Jews in Nazi Germany had to identify themselves by wearing a mark and so do non muslims in Saudi Arabia. Mein Kumf is most popular in islamic countries. Keep supporting the Nazis...

      August 21, 2010 at 1:44 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      Nazis were from Germany, one of the core Western Christian Capitalist nations in the world. They built factories to gas millions of jews to death. All this they did YESTERDAY, in the 20th century. most of the jews have nt even rotted in their mass graves, thats how yesterday this happened. Muslims are like babies compared to YOUR Nazis!! I doubt they have killed six million people in their entire 1,400 year history.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:51 am |
    • mattdr

      Genocide commited by Islam over the years is the biggest ever. Over 10 million hindus and buddists were butchered in afghanistan and Pakistan during the times of islamic Moghal empires. In face the Hindukush mountains in Pakistan litterally means 'Hindu Killings'. Several million Aremnians were murdered by the Muslims. Trying googling it if you do not believe me. Nazis were allied with the Mufti of Palestine. Muslims leave nazis blazing in the dust when it comes to matters of genocidal tendencies

      August 21, 2010 at 3:25 am |
  13. Marge

    I think a lot of us Marine Corp mommas could probably arrange for these small (c)hristian extremists to meet their God in person if any of our boys or girls get killed because of this when the news reaches the small (m)uslims that practice extremism in Afghanistan. The small (c)hristians would do better to stick their thumb up their poop chute, pull the stick out of it, take a chill pill and stop adding gas to the fire.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  14. Charles

    Deceptive and violent religion... We're talking about Christianity, right?

    August 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • geo

      i guess that unemployment is getting to people and they are acting stupid and with hatred

      August 21, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  15. Liam

    The entire thing is just plain stupid. This idiot and his wife probably don't have two brain cells to rub between them. Frightening how people invoke the name of a 'god' to help them exact revenge on those that don't believe the same.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • dan

      Charles =stupid

      August 21, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  16. Willyboy

    Good for the organizers of Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope. The hateful and ignorant action planned by Dove World Outreach Center is an insult to Christianity and rational humans everywhere. Neither Muslims nor Islam in general have wronged our nation. Terrorists have attacked us. Not Islam. The ignorant and hateful folks at Dove World Outreach Center, on the other hand, are attacking Islam without provocation. They are revolting examples of humans and a disgrace to Christianity.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • notesham

      so the death of 3000 souls was not provocation enough for you? They are burning a book... what's the big deal? They are not flying planes to buildings or blowing themselves up trying to kill innocents

      August 21, 2010 at 1:48 am |
    • Willyboy

      notesham: You are ignorant and filled with misplaced rage. Muslims did not attack the WTC. Islam did not attack the WTC. Terrorists attacked the WTC and killed those 3000 souls you refer to. To claim it was Muslims or at the behest of Islam is pure ignorance and bigotry. Grow up, notesham, educate yourself.

      August 21, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  17. wowlfie

    The book should simply be banned. Burning is not necessary. But in the end all religious books should be banned as 99.99% of all wars are of holy origin or ending. The cause of 99.99% of all mankinds grief is religion. That's because it's 100% false ideas of gods and heaven and hell and everything superstitious. Religion is evil not good. Religion brings false hopes. Religion teaches lies and preaches to spread those lies. Ban Religion and wars will disappear forever.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  18. JTinFortWorth

    Florida has always been cock-a-block full of religious freaks and barmpots...snake handlers, scorpion handlers, handling red hot kerosene lamp globes, every inbred slithering thing that has vaguely hominid features seems drawn to those belching swamps....sadly, these days they've seem to have discovered the TV machine will even make movin pitchers of toothless oafs like them and so they're crawling out of the bubbling, methanous muck of their intellectual rot to gas the broader world with their marsh mentality. Christians, they aint. Just freaks. ...not that I have an opinion of them.

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

    While I don't support the burning of the Quran, someone ask Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR how the lack of Islamaphobia worked out for the Lebanese Christians who opened their democratic country and government to include Muslims only to have the Muslims eventually out-number them, take over and make them all "dhimmis" (2nd class citizens for the Islamic illiterate). Study your world history, study Europe today and wake up America. After a 12 year investigation the FBI terminate ties w/ CAIR because they were funneling money to Hamas via the Holy Land Foundation. Hamas, another peaceful subgroup of their peaceful religion. Still the liberal media quotes them as if they are a legit and not the incognito jihadists sharing the same ultimate goal as overt jihadists – i.e. replace western culture w/ Islam's Sharia Law.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      one could make the same argument about the muslim world opening itself to British traders in the 1800s, look where it got them!! set them back 500 years. Lebanon is small change compared to what you have done to the entire muslim world over the past two centuries.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:47 am |
  20. Decepticon

    Religion. In all it's various incarnations and flavors, the biggest hoax mankind has ever created for himself.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
    • M.Delroba

      there must be something in it yet , it's not a hoax! maybe the message got confused somewhere !

      August 21, 2010 at 3:18 am |
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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.