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. lisa courtney

    Best Female Response!

    I just spent all afternoon studying the Quran and Mohammed online. Several different sources all point to the same thing–A mixed bag of reviews regarding his character.

    I’m shocked that for say too many parts of Mohammed’s life, his actions, participation in hideous violence, his denial of free speech, and free assembly, all bespeak of a despot, not a savior.

    Maybe violence is necessary to save your life on occasions, even wage truly defensive wars, but to mention violence and its perpetration so many times in your own flagship manual is beyond freakin’ striking. Come on! Plus, you deny adherence to any other path other than the one in your own book as treachery! That prophet should work for a Madison Avenue Ad Agency or sell Sham Wow!

    And all the stuff about the deception of those who oppose him. Do you all know about that?

    Apparently, deceiving Christians, Buddhists, and the poor rabbit in the field that won’t become drunk with incendiary recommendations in the last half of the book are fair to deception of any sort.

    An objective observer might comment: On many occasions, Mohammed had the qualities of a pugilist, a control-freak, addicted to violence and writing and promoting it if you disagree… why does that remind me of a past fascist leader?

    Maybe we should be burning that book!

    I recall how Jesus turned over the money changers table at the market. Jesus didn’t succumb to political correctness, neither did the Buddha. Neither should we.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  2. SmarterHuman

    Let's have a "burn the bible day." Why not?

    August 21, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  3. montu

    My neighbor's kid is a buddhist and his christian friends in school tell him that he will go to hell for not being a christian.....and these are high school kids.... tells me there is something wrong with parenting or education that we are growing dumb a*ses here....

    August 21, 2010 at 12:01 am |
    • Justina

      Humans are getting judgment in hell for the sins they committed, rejecting the Divine Savior and having no salvation in themselves. The human effort cannot bring salvation to anyone, because all are sinners. Every human needs Jesus and the new life He gives in order to be saved.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:15 am |
    • freewoman

      the kids only know what is programmed into their heads... no matter what myth the dogma is the same, the name of the god is different.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • sigmud

      Hellfire is more appetizing than the heaven promised by an Intolerant God!

      August 21, 2010 at 2:18 am |
    • GINNY sue

      Oy, poor Justina!

      August 21, 2010 at 5:00 am |
  4. Kenny

    There was once this guy named Hitler and he tried this book burning thing so that people would read only what he chose for them to read and see what it got him. People, this is not right. I would be angered to know that my bible was being burned so I know how a muslim will feel to know his Quran was being burned. This is all wrong and it will serve no good purpose. Stop this madness before we destroy our country. I understand that many people do not want the Community Center to be built so close to Ground Zero but in our country we give freedoms to all and one of those freedoms is the freedom of relegion. We can use the excuse that a Muslim Community Center should not be built so close to Ground Zero because Muslims were the ones that flew the planes into the Twin Towers but we cannot justify it. Consider this. Timothy McVeigh bombed a Federal Building killing many and he was a Christian. Using that same argument, should we say that no Christian faith should be allowed to build a Church or Church Community Center close to a Federal Building? THINK PEOPLE. WE ARE BETTER THAN ALL OF THIS.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  5. montu

    My neighbor's kid is a buddhist and his christian friends in school tell him that he will go to hell for not being a christian.....and these are high school kids.... tells me there is something wrong with parenting or education that we are growing dumbasses here....

    August 21, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  6. S. Brown

    Burning a Quran, you risk emulating the sort of fanatical behavior you oppose. Iranians like to chant "Death to America!", but we are above that sort of simple-minded sloganeering.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  7. baboon

    I'm a Hindu from India. Can somebody explain what the common thread in Kashmir, Israel, Southern Thailand and Philippines and Chechneya is? Islam. Did all these non-Muslims gang up against Muslims?

    Also, if Budhists or Hindus wanted to build a temple at the place where Muslims want to now, the same Americans would (rightly) not oppose it, because they know the difference between Islam and any other religion.

    In India, after Friday prayers, Hindus don't venture into places near Mosques, because that's when stoning happens right after the Namaz if the Mullah ask them to in the sermons.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
  8. Watch HItchens Debates

    Religious people are such fools. Wher eonce I pitied yo ufor being so ignorant and uneducated in anything meaningful, I now see the danger imposed by your claim of authority from a book of fairy tales which requires no education, no evidence, no understanding....it's really scary to see so many of you insane people spewing garbage about Jesus or Mohamed of the Flying Spaghetti monster. Wake up. Educate yourselves. Read Darwin. Study science. Your holy books are fictional literature, destined for the same path as al lthe worshipped deities before them. The next world war WILL be about relgion, make no mistake, and it is time for athiests and agnostics (the reasonable ones) to show the world that religion is nothing more than a mass delusion, an accepted insanity...and must be dealt with accordingly. Keep your sky fairy worship out of my life and out my government.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  9. Dennis retired soldier

    Burning the Quran will cause GREAT DANGER to the soldiers fighting these WARS but hey who cares about these soldiers.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • American4041

      I'm sorry but I have to reply to this. I mean no disrespect to our current servicemen and women and to all veterans out there but I disagree with your statement. When you join the military, you know that there is the possibility that you may be killed. It goes with being a soldier, or a marine, or a sailor, or an airman. This is the same thing as a cop knowing they may be killed on duty or a firefighter knowing they may be killed in a burning building. Yes this act may and probably will anger extremists. But this same things happens everyday when an American flag is raised. They hate us and our way of life. So this isn't placing our troops in anymore danger than they are already in.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • thinkingman

      Listen to yourself--They hate you because they hate the way of your life??? Why should they???? Would it make more sense if they hate it you because you are there in their land trying to change THEIR way of life??"???

      August 21, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  10. j in gainesville

    God is the same in all religions, unfortunately, we all suffer from confusion due to various interpretations and forms that are a result of cultural and political evolutions, educational accessibility/system differences, geographical boundaries, etc.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • freewoman

      we are all born atheists.. too bad our parents would not let us stay that way...

      those who do get to be free minded are the lucky ones...

      August 21, 2010 at 5:28 am |
  11. morph147

    wow. all i can say to this is wow. i dont even know where to begin. sigh yes i may be christian and everything but this is one thing i couldnt dream of doing. people we have freedom of religion in this country remember that. if someone wants to be muslim then fine. if someone wants to be christian fine. just dont diss each other. not all muslims are the problem. just only a small handful. just like not all christians are the problems. just a small handful. just look at all the crazy christians that commit volience because god told them too.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  12. AntiWar

    The minister who started this HATRED MOVEMENT was KKK member and opposed BLACK people from entering church in early 70s.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Guest

      Gosh, that’s like saying atheism is a religion and you are a card carrying member of the ACLU.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  13. marcos

    There is no such thing as allah! Will you muslims relax?!?!? Mohammed was a violent pedophile and nothing more. Truth hurts, doesn't it? Start focusing on the real world we live in and how we can make it a better place for all living things and quit worshipping your imaginary friend. All the while subjecting women, gays, and non-muslims to such constant hatred. If there was no more Islam, wouldn't the world be wonderful? Airlines would be safer, the middle east would be at peace, and no more idiots putting up mosques in the same neighborhood where they slaughtered thousands of innocent people. Stoning women because they were raped ... oh yeah, that's a religion of peace. You all go to hell now – if there even is one.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  14. Halapeno

    I believe this church has the right to burn Qurans just like I believe Muslims have the right to build a mosque in NYC.

    I don't agree with either one but you can't have religious freedom unless you allow idiots to act upon their beliefs.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  15. Trolleyfish

    While you're at it, burn a bible and a U.S. flag. See if these whackos get upset about that.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  16. Danigirl65

    and THIS is the reason I don't believe in organized religion Nearly every one of them except, perhaps, Buddhism, is guilty of pointing the finger at people who don't believe as they do and call it evil. It's been going on for hundreds of years.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • Justina

      That's because the Buddhist majority allows no religious freedom.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:46 am |
    • montu

      @Justina: and your idea of religious freedom is that all non-christians will go to hell...i am sure Gandhi was dispatched to hell for being a hindu...

      August 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • Guest


      When you get there, could you say to him; "hi" for me?

      August 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • montu

      @guest: Sure thing...will say hello on behalf of all you radicals.....

      August 21, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  17. montu

    @stevensw: really!! people converted to christianity on their own!! I know of people whose full time job is to convert people...by hook or crook!

    August 20, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  18. Abdulah

    I love how they can plan something this big without taking the basic steps of reading about what Islam is all about. I'm a Muslim but instead of being offended I just find this funny and ridiculous because Islam teaches us to follow what Christians follow so basically they will be burning a book that teaches them to do the same as what the Bibles teaches.. Waste paper guys, waste your time, pollute the environment.. Hope that gets you somewhere.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  19. j in gainesville

    wow, I hope UF/Gainesville is not targeted for ignorance and hate.

    Gainesville is a college town where futures are forged though enlightenment and education yet there are those who behave with an ignorant mob mentality and are so quick to damn an entire philosophy unjustly for the actions of a few.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  20. Shadia

    Its really funny how in America we are still debating religion while other countries are past that and debating education, healthcare and plans for the future.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • Justina

      Other countries have no real freedom like USA.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:06 am |
    • freewoman

      we can't expect our government to solve our problems so we still use the god thing.

      We are still in the age of stupidity...

      August 21, 2010 at 12:40 am |
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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.