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. thinkingman

    Just a thought? What purpose does the burning of some people's holy book serve? Does the Church that advocate this idea think that by doing so, this will hurt muslim's feelings? I don't think so....Mustlims have a non-breakable faith. If anything, it will strengthen their faith further. So muslim people, be proud of your faith. On the other hand if they think that by burning the quran will help stop the ever-increasing number of converts to islam, they should think again. The only possible outcome is that it will scare the intelegently-week people that will not be able make up their mind. Those that are wise they should at least read the book they are about the burn so they know what they are burning. These fortunate ones I gaurantee you, will CONVERT to islam because they will realize that this is no ordinary book, but the true words of the CREATOR. Those are welcome to join the islam. Once again, Muslims should be proud of their relegion. Finally, God in the holy QURAN states that the non-believers will try to turn-off the "LIGHT" of GOD from spreading and God will refuse but to spread it. We will see if they can TURN-OFF the "LIGHT" of GOD?

    August 21, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  2. Ali

    I hope they know that the Quran has an entire chapter about Mary and holds Mary as the most honored women to ever live. Quran provides wisdom through the stories of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and other prophets mentioned in Bible and Torah. The stories of Jesus since he was in cradle are mentioned in the Quran.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  3. NS

    in some cultures peepee is the god

    August 21, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  4. NS

    how nice, islam means 'submit else i kill you'

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

      its call free will.. don't convert its called suicide.

      August 21, 2010 at 5:22 am |
  5. White male Christian

    As white christians put on this earth, we have dominion over all plants and beasts. We granted freedom to the black slaves. We made use of the great resources of the Americas and Africa. We freed the Jews. We are responsible for all significant technological advances through history. Other races mimick us and envy our culture.

    We are not perfect though. We are merciful and have allowed Mexicans into our country unlawfully. We failed to deport blacks back to Africa. We gave up the Holy lands to the Muslims. Nonwhites should respect our power and appreciate our mercy. We allow Muslims to exist because its is our will. It will be a sad day for Muslims when the rest of our white brothers wake up.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:18 am |
    • peace2all

      @ White male Christian

      I am sure glad you posted that...... You are the voice of calm and reason. No bigotry, no intolerance, no racism..... Wow...!!!

      Please don't post sh!+ like that anymore..... that is not helping to make things better.... and yes, I am a White Male.... and your post was disgusting.....

      August 21, 2010 at 3:38 am |
    • PeaceMan


      beware of trollbait, brother!

      August 21, 2010 at 4:56 am |
  6. /B/

    Every religion that came before Christianity was paganism, every religion that came after were cults. I love Christians. Self righteous idiots.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:16 am |
    • freewoman

      the pagans had to be killed.. can't have any female gods.. only one.. and he as a rod to prove it.

      August 21, 2010 at 5:24 am |
  7. Gopherit

    What a great way to win friends and influence people – burning Qrans! Surely millions of Muslims will convert to Christianity because of this event! That would be about the same number as converted following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, advocated by many high profile supposedly Christian personalities. Now if those self-presumed and self-effacing Bible pounding folks would actually open their Bibles and read the record of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew's gospel, especially the parts about Jesus command that they are to love their (contrived) enemies, their hypocrisy would become self-evident!

    August 21, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  8. Dante

    Muslims are cutting their own throat with this kind of crap...they got away with this garbage in Western Europe because they whipped out the "muhammed-Card" every time someone had a enough guts to call them out. This time, in this country, we know the playbook: use the lax Western laws to slowly take over and impose Sharia law, when someone calls out your disgusting hypocritical behavior, cry discrimination.....Sorry, that ain't gonna fly anymore. Most Americans couldn't care less what you people think of them. You all are a bunch of phonies and hypocrites. Muslims have become the most despised group in America because of this stuff, please keep it up!! You are dooming yourselves. We know your gameplan now!

    August 21, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  9. /B/


    August 21, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  10. Abu Nazmul-Hossain

    See the world

    Thanks ricky! In my home country, Bangladesh, there are churches like the one you visited in cities, towns and even villages. Christmas day and also the festive days of Hindus (Durgapuja) and Buddhists (Purnima) are always Government holidays in my country. I used to join my Christian friend and his family to celebrate Chirstmas. As usual, they and the Hindu friends of my brother were invited by my mother to our Eid dinner. During the harvesting season, my grandmother offered jobs such as husking paddy to poor women from minority group and was always sympathetic to them. Both of my mother and grandmother followed the duties in Islam sincerely throughout their lives. At the same time they maintained a good relationship with neighbors of different faiths.

    To those who talk against Muslims or Islam, please open your eyes and broaden your mind. There is a big world over there!

    August 21, 2010 at 12:12 am |
  11. Steve

    kjsmith110, Clearly you have never been to a Muslim country, and clearly your world knowledge is pretty limited. I happen to be from Morocco where you will find churches ans synagogues. Other Muslim countries have the same thing. Please study the history books. You will be pleasantly surprised how Islam protected the right of Jews and Christians to worship. It's unfortunate that people don't do their homework/common sense when they judge other people.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  12. jj

    I'm going to the International House of Pancakes, instead. Hope they don't burn them, as I like them golden and fluffy.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  13. Josh

    Good, it is a waste of valuable time to be hating other religions and people

    August 21, 2010 at 12:09 am |
  14. Sadya

    I am a Muslim woman (even went to Islamic school) and am an American. The ignorance on this board is disgusting, I shouldn't have read the comments. 90% of these people have never met a Muslim.

    You know what tenants I live by? Islam values education, charity, and using your resources to help others. I am a doctor (went to one of the best med schools in the country), and when I go into work, I give the best healthcare possible to my patients. My early 20s were spent studying every weekend, my late 20s have been spent working >80 hours/week, working 30 hour shifts, and now I have incredible amounts of student loans to pay off. This was my choice and I do it so I can be useful to people who need it the most. In my free time, I volunteer at health fairs and free clinics. How dare anyone claim that because I am Muslim, I am not a productive member of society. What do some of these posters on this board do to help others? Other than inciting hate?

    I have met some of the poorest people in our country who need our help desperately. Maybe instead of burning anything, this church and all you condoning these pointless acts can actually go out and HELP your fellow citizens. Volunteer at a shelter, food bank, or free clinic, please. You have neighbors who can't even afford $4 meds. Others decide between paying the rent and paying for their meds. People are DYING from poverty.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • freewoman

      and so where was all that love, kindness work ethic, when those 19 flew into those buildings?

      Did not see any muslim peace there. neither did anyone else. I wonder if you had been on the 8oth floor and you were burning up or falling 100 stories to your death.. would you feel all the love then? would have made sense to you?

      The muslim community wanted to make an impression on Americans.. they did now we all have to live with it.. You want to support that group and myth well you then have to share the shame of it forever..
      We will not forget and will not let you either. YOU have proved just what you god is all about.
      and it is now wanted here!
      go back to the desert where you god lives.... and kills... we are better off without you... stay with your own kind... leave us in peace... without your killer god.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:57 am |
    • mattdr

      I do not hate anyone. I am not going to burn the koran but I will defend the rights of those who want to do so. Their right to opinion is protected. Peace is not achieved through appeasement or double standards. We burn the american flag and we protect the rights of people who do so. This is no different

      August 21, 2010 at 3:40 am |
    • peace2all


      Pretty much with you on that ..... but, I would like to think as Americans, we can and should behave 'better' than that.

      Just because they 'can' burn someone's holy book doesn't mean it's a good idea, just like burning our flag.

      If we are trying to promote peace and understanding.... at least I am.... then, I don't think burning the Qur'an is the way to go...do you @ Mattdr.... really....? I can certainly appreciate upholding the rights and all, but really...burning the Qur'an...?


      August 21, 2010 at 3:51 am |
  15. rod

    islam in america isnt really islam...they cant go by there religious beliefs in this country because its against constitutional law. you cant kill your wife over in america if she cheats on you. you cant force your wife to be your slave in america. so these muslims building mosques over in america, aren't true muslims

    August 21, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  16. K

    Your pretty hung up on crotches, butts, and crap aren't you? Lol

    August 21, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  17. Joe D

    I think many now would have embraced the Nazis. Muslims are a lot like them. Except that they plan to take over slowly over 200 years by having lots of children. France now is 20% Muslim. I don't want this for our country. Muslims are the enemy just like Nazis were 70 years ago.

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

      in 70 yrs they hope to make this a muslim country. and it will be dead....

      August 21, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  18. JP

    Burn as many Bibles across the street. Send a different message.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  19. American4041

    I fully support the church and their Quran burning. If Muslims want to exercise their freedom and build a Mosque two blocks from the worst attack against America, which was planned and executed my Muslims, then this church is able to exercise its freedom by burning a Quran.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  20. Steve

    I am a Muslim, but more importantly, I am an American. When I read some of these hateful messages I am reminded that more than half of our country needs enlightenment. Between ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and racism there is honestly no hope for these people. Some of my best friends are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and atheists. We get along great because not only do we respect each other, but we also appreciate our differences. After all, that's what makes this country so special.

    I have been watching this hatred towards Islam fueling over the last few weeks, and I can't think of a better quote than this: "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action." Goethe.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • freewoman

      too bad you did not get that message to the 19 who murdered 3.000 on 911.

      do you think it would have changed their minds.... not me either..

      August 21, 2010 at 12:46 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.