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. Paul Ronco

    These morons think they are doing the Lord's work when all they are doing is the work of Rupert Murdoch. These arrested-development nitwits wouldn't even know what a Quran was unless the media had been there to tell them.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  2. Rue Morgue

    Whether it's Nazis goose-stepping through Skokie, Illinois where Holocaust survivors live, so-called 60's college students burning the US flag to protest the Vietnam War, or religious right-wingers burning the Koran, freedom of speech is far
    important than anyone's sensibilities! I wouldn't trust anyone to tell me what to think, say or do. Let the fools show themselves. Whether it's left or the right, they all believe they are *right* and they know the *truth*. Only by allowing the fools to expose themselves, does the majority stand a chance to see them for what they are. ACLU, love them or hate them, are correct in their defense of the Freedom of Speech. IMHO, the Constitution's greatest right - Freedom of Speech. It allows you to learn what people believe!

    August 20, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  3. bob

    Good for them. I'd throw in some bibles too. Anyone who demands that their religious beliefs be respected is a cretin. In this country, we have no obligation to respect anyone's beliefs. We definitely respect their right to believe whatever they want – but that is not the same as respecting the beliefs themselves. Religious is superstitious idiocy, a belief system for fools and morons.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  4. gpl2032

    Whats the difference? In this day and age if our liberal society allows people to burn our own flag then so what. Burn, burn, burn...

    August 20, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      Liberal society? The polls are quite clear. Politically, America is center-right.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  5. AntiWar

    Anyone promoting this hatred day supports RELIGIOUS TERRORISM. This is heinous work of rednecks who should be deported ASAP.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  6. jerry

    this is not the way to go i toyally disagree with this burning event.by doing thid we are just as guilty as the ones that drove plains into your buildings.hate does not solve hate.people have the right to worship whoever and whereever they want

    August 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  7. mama panda

    Ok, Christians. Would you burn a book that contains the original account of the virgin birth? No? Because it's the Bible?

    Well, then, you can't burn the Quran, either...because it also tells of the virgin birth.

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

      and raping little girls is ok. by allah...

      August 21, 2010 at 12:36 am |
  8. AntiWar

    If Chrisitans participate in BURN QURAN day, they will prove their religion is promoting RELIGIOUS TERRORISM.
    Afterall it is work of rednecks who should be deported from America.

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

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

      August 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      Absolutely right! Dove center understood Islam in the same way Al Qaeda did.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |

      August 21, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  9. DJ

    It's also your right as an American to PULL YOUR HEAD OUT and smell the terror around you too. People like you crack me up. You let someone half a world away dictate to you how to express your first ammendment right? Go for it man. Be a follower like all the rest of the chickens.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  10. amarjit singh

    There are billions of Qurans are billions in the world & burning of one by a religious preachers are highly condemnable. All religions are the same only faiths are are different. It has been perverted by the small fraction of extremists & going on for the last thousands of years. If some are stupid others are not. We should join hands with sane & intelligent to improve not distort or destroy the Christian values respected the world over. There is a small fraction of people in every religion who destroy the religious feeling & there is no scacity even in Cristian institutions but these are human failures not God's. As a great civilized nation based on values, let not US priest do wrong in burning Quaran in Florida & create culturally bad image of Christianity from the land of Abrahim Lincoln & George Washington who created American Democratic form of Govt with liberty, equality & freedom of thought & faith giving shelter to immigrants encouraging to build America New & all powerful with real strength of character,integrity, determination & sacrifice for the nation leaving evergreen example in history of the world for ever as well first leading ithe governance with written & remarkable constitution never heard before in human history. America is great & let everyone be greater than religion.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  11. Otoyo

    In the history of mankind, billions of men have tried to come up with religions and doctrines. Billions have tried to promote their beliefs including Atheists , Pagans and Agnostics.(These are beliefs too). To this day, men are still trying to get the world to subscribe to their particular belief... Out of these billions of attempts, only One man has so far been able to succeed in every single continent of the World, turning thousands of unrelated Cultures into believers. The fastest growing religion today is Islam and that man is Prophet Mohammad P.B.U.H. The chicken or egg question here is why is he the only one to succeed in this? Why not the billions of others who try everyday including those posting here.? Why is the Quran so successful?Many people have written religious books and doctrines that have disappeared and will disappear of the face of the earth.The golden question is why Mohammad PBUH? What separates him from the billions? Christianity spreads because of the millions of missionaries running a PR campaign all over the World. Islam on the other hand doesnt have 'missionaries' walking around the face of the earth looking for people to convert. Yet it is the fastest growing religion.. Why is this?

    August 20, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
    • freewoman

      they are not called missionaries.. they are call god's bomb squad.
      if you don't think they are trying to convert the world you better get you head out of the sand and look around.. mosques are pooping up like toadstools all over the US.

      There is big tax free money to made here for them....the more people to fill the pot the more money they get.

      It is about money and power...never think it is anything else. They love money, they use the myth and its dogma as weapons to get it.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  12. Narasimhan

    Why did we allow muslims to immigrate in the first place? It is going to be a big challenge.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
    • AntiWar

      It is the same rule that allowed your ancestors to immigrate to this country.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • freewoman

      we wanted their oil.. and showed them there was wealth in that black gold. Now they are killing us and each other for it.
      When they run out of bomb making chemicals then what? its nuke time...

      August 21, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      don't worry. they are not going to run out of bomb making chemicals, because you are supplying them with it (smile).

      August 21, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • peace2all

      @ (B)Iraq Hussein Osama

      I have read several of your postings over a period of time on several articles... Are you just trying to provoke everyone on the blogs....?

      I am making my posts about peace and hoping this atrocious Qur'an burning day DOES NOT happen, and you just seem to be adding more fuel to all of the religious and non-relgious wing-nuts..

      Try 'NOT' acting like the stereotype that most on these blogs have of Muslim's .... and maybe things will begin to change.

      Just a little friendly advise....

      Peace to you.....

      August 21, 2010 at 2:23 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      – hello nice faky moslem person
      – trying to put on a fake persona of "peace-loving moslem"
      – you fool only your own self
      – but hey, peace! (no pun intended)
      – we all live in our own self-delusions here

      August 21, 2010 at 2:45 am |
    • peace2all

      @ (B)Iraq Hussein Osama

      That is your cogent and thoughtful response to someone trying to make peace...... Apparently you do want to antagonize the religious wing-nuts. Inflame the muslim's....? Inspire them to war or something...? What is your goal here...really ???

      O.K.... as you said.....live in your own personal delusions. I tried....

      I still wish you peace anyway.....

      August 21, 2010 at 3:00 am |
  13. AntiWar

    Chiristians need to be reminded that America is not a chirstian country. Anyone claiming that doesn't know 1st amendment and that will prove that you do not understand your own constitution.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  14. HypocritesAbound

    Here's an interesting observation:

    Many of you are commenting that this burning is protected by the freedom of speech (it is), and others are replying that it's not about Constitutional rights, but about sensitivity, or tolerance, or whatever...

    Now, how many of you have opinions about the Mosque in New York, the question of freedom of religion, or the arguments against based on sensitivity, tolerance, or whatever...

    I would venture to guess that those calling for tolerance in this Koran burning issue are the ones that are spouting the freedom of religion argument in New York, and those spouting Freedom of speech here are calling for tolerance and sensitivity in the mosque case...

    The point is – the arguments are identical, and anyone with a brain should be able to see it. Yes, in both cases the actions being proposed are protected by the First Amendment. That's indisputable. And in both cases, there are a large number who recognize that legality, but see that the question transcends it, and that there is also a question of right and wrong, of tolerance, of sensitivity to others, etc.

    Anyone who takes the legal argument on one, and the moral argument on the other – in either direction – is a hypocrite. Pure and simple. From my standpoint, yes they're both legal, but that doesn't make either the right thing to do.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  15. schlor


    August 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  16. Martin Luther

    When they burned books in my day (1500's) there were relatively few printed books and one could literally "erase someone's teaching from the memory of mankind" by burning all of their writings. Fast forward to today and with thousands of print copies and digital media, it is impossible to eradicate a teaching or idea by book burning. The only thing a book burning does today is create a publicity stunt, and it seems to be working quite well in this case.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
    • freewoman

      ah a small flicker of a voice of wisdom. you are right... nothing like a crazy idea to stir up the masses..

      sells news and endless pop up ads.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  17. Dante

    Maybe the Muslims can have Stone a 9 Year Old Day?....Or, Kill an Infidel Day?...or All Jews are Pigs Day?....or a No Church But an Islam Church In Saudi Arabia Day?...or a Muslims Wanna Live in the West but We Don't Want Your Laws To Apply To Us Day?...or my personal favorite Build a Mosque On the Most Sensitive Ground in America Day? Hypocrites.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • Avi Shlomo

      Ceartainly sensitive ground and before you open your trash hole you should have thought this was secret grounds for Indians that your ancestors have murdered.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • Justina

      Indians were not massacred like infidels were by Muslims.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • freewoman

      native Americans not murdered like infidels?? they were considered infidels by the Christians... read your history books...

      Native Americans were murdered by the millions..... don't the teach history any more?

      August 21, 2010 at 12:23 am |
    • Justina

      Or like by blood-thirsty atheists.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      "Lets copy the West and Build Factories to Exterminate Jews Day"?

      August 21, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  18. Avi Shlomo

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up."
    "Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.
    Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-Semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”"

    August 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  19. NFLJediMaster

    There will only be peace amoung religions when there is only 1 religion. Yet people do acts or have thinking of 'why can't we just get along'? That kind of thinking will never bring peace in the long run, as there will always be ENDLESS conflict, so in fact, you are making things worse by having unrealistic views. Thinking this is a magical world where people are more similar than different is from a child's mind. Just travel the world and you will learn how very different and incompatible people really are. But no matter, in the end, there is no right or wrong, only Power. Of this we can be sure.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  20. kebert

    What's the big deal about this? A bunch of people dislike a religion so they're burning its holy book as an expression of their beliefs. You're welcome to care about that if you want to, but personally I'd only be concerned if they were burning mosques and Muslims instead. This is just a symbolic act. I'm sure the Islamic community will be offended to some degree, but that's life in the US. Free speech means you're going to get offended once in a while.

    Between this and the Park51 controversy, I think it's clear that Americans in general need to thicken their skins a bit. If they want to burn their property and pay the associated fine, good for them. Ditto for someone who wants to build on his Manhattan property.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:35 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.