August 23rd, 2010
01:55 PM ET

Religious leaders speak out against International Burn a Quran Day

Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, stands in front of his church in Gainesville, Florida

Response so far to an event billed as a Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope has been "overwhelmingly positive," a minister in Gainesville, Florida, told CNN on Monday. The event is planned in response to a local church's International Burn a Quran Day.

As part of the Gainesville Interfaith Forum - made up of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus - Trinity United Methodist Church will host the event September 10, the night before the planned burning of the Quran.

The nondenominational Dove World 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.

"Our hope is that we'll have a thousand people here and there will be 20 people [at the Quran-burning]," Trinity's senior minister Dan Johnson said Monday. Johnson predicted the event would be "multicultural and multifaith." He said he hoped it would inspire a number of people to sign up for the city's interfaith forum. "One member told me after church Sunday that they've never been as proud to be a member of this church as they are now," Johnson said.

In a note posted on his church's website last week, Johnson invited all residents of Gainesville to the counterevent. "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."

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 lists "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 monthlong 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: Culture wars • Florida • Interfaith issues • Islam • Quran • United States

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soundoff (438 Responses)
  1. kamran

    Do u know Quran says if u disrespect others faith they will do the same to your faith. This holds true not only for Islam but for all faiths. so think...........

    September 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  2. PEACE

    You want to burn the Qur'an? Let me give you a little advice, between now and your supposed date of burning do a little research about the Qur'an. If you do that and you still think you will go ahead with your decision, fine and good but remember this: Qur'an is the book of God (Allah S.W.T). If you succeed no muslim is coming after. It will be between you and God almighty. Good luck.

    September 8, 2010 at 5:09 am |
  3. Tonyb

    A complete idiot. I watched his interview.. too much hooch has fried a limited brain to begin with.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
  4. DanielD

    Burning the Koran is not a very good idea.. It's disrespectful! However Muslims should not even react to this – this is why ppl do such things: to get a reaction. Also threats of reprisals just adds to the misconception that Islam is inheritantly evil and violent. The true msg is one of peace and all these misguided fools who blow themselves up are only going to hell. Everybody should just grow up and get on with life. Someone said Allah would punish Florida.. What a load of crap! If that was the case then why is it that Muslim countries suffer the most? They are generally much poorer than the west and are subject to more natural disasters than anywhere else. Just look at Pakistan with it's floods earthquakes etc – why is god/Allah more angry with Muslims? Go figure

    September 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  5. Joseph

    allah is not god nor is the quran the word of God. It is a lie that will send people to hell. Thank you pastor for standing up to evil. You could have found another less incite full way to do it But I admire the principle and guts it takes to do this May the Lord protect you and your church members they will need it when the "peaceful" muslims get through with you. Instead of criticizing we need to pray for this guy saints

    September 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  6. Doc Vestibule

    Since we're using the Quaran as kindling, lets toss in the Rigveda, Avesta, Diamond Sutra, Kitab-i-Aqdas, Donghak Scripture, Nag Hammadi, Book Of Mormon, Pricipia Discordia, Rasa'il al-hikmah, Amuduat, Cippus Preusinus, Hermetica, Vedas, Smriti, Tanakh, Satanic Bible, Ginza Rba, Arzhang, Holy Piby, Kojiki, Dianetics, Dasven Padshah Da Granth, Daozang, Yazidi Black Book, Gospel of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Revelation X and maybe a couple of Harry Potter books for good measure.

    September 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  7. Marilyn Van

    This is disgraceful, and I am ashamed of any Americans that would burn the Quran, just as I would be of any Americans that burned the Bible. This country was founded on religious freedom. Are you so narrow minded you can't understand this and put yourself in the other person's place? How would you feel if this were done to you?? You are certainly not following the Bible you claim to represent, and are leading yourself and others away from the word of God......From An American Christian

    September 7, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  8. Analyzer

    This guy wants to get intention to grow his business. He knows well that Jesus doesn't accept such stupid actions and that burning a book will not stop terrorism. He is just a businessman and trying a new "marketing strategy" to let people know him to earn $$$. I would like to ask people, especially Muslims, to ignore this man. This is the best way to put him down and corrupt his "marketing strategy". But this man is a disgrace to Christianity and Humanity ... What a cheap way to sell oneself!

    September 7, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • fluffy

      what you said somehow do make sense for abit there..
      but when it come to religious as I mention itz a very sensitive topic..
      and by him broadcasting about burning Quran, most muslim are not happy bout it.

      I pray that this guy burn in hell for real..Jesus did not teach him to do such thing, embarrassing

      September 7, 2010 at 1:52 am |
    • Kate


      Truth be told, given that Dove is connected with Westboro, I think the whole purpose behind this stunt is simply to agitate. I don't think they care it's going to put American lives at risk, in fact I'd go so far as to say that these people would consider that a bonus, as it fits their worldview of trying to go for a "last days" scenario.

      The true irony is, they're extremist fundamentalists just as bad as the people we're fighting, they just tag themselves as Christians, and hide behind the shield of the freedoms the people they're going to get killed defend.

      September 7, 2010 at 1:55 am |
    • peace2all


      Very well said..... Couldn't have said it better.


      September 7, 2010 at 2:01 am |
  9. fluffy

    I just would like to share my thought, not offend anyone any religious if that matter.
    I could not understand why you people let this situation conquer the humanity in you.

    bad enough that war is going on here and there, people are killing one another. and you people are not making it go any better. we should have learn to respect one another by now.. and let me tell you that all religious teach people to be a good person, do good deed. not to harm anyone.

    Before you want to argue you should have learn Quran and Bible first, to know that both are so similar.
    Those minority of terrorist and strong head christian and muslim making the rest of the people in the world take the blame of what they have created.

    Koran burners please don't put Americans [including ALL RELIGIOUS] in danger this will enraging over1 billion people, innocent blood will be on your hands.!! THINK with your brain before you ACT!

    May god-Allah bless you all

    September 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  10. scratch

    My name Satan. Over the course of 1000’s of years, I have been called by many names, but my most favorite name is ALLAH. It pleases me to no end in having 1.5 billion unknowing souls as my willing slaves. Hell, even now as I’m typing this, MOHAMMED is on his knees before me (ooohhhh 'Hammed, keep sucking it you sweet b**ch)worshipping my immense greatness. In closing, keep reading my satanic tome, the Holy (wwwwaaaahhhhhaaaaa) Koran and you too will be granted a place in HELL. We don’t have virgin girls for all you muslim men, but we do have 72 well endowed male demons for each of you. Just ask MOHAMMED, his rear end looks like a sewage pipe. Thank you. ALLAH AKA SATAN

    September 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  11. rolfen

    Everyone should be able to pursue their dreams... 😀
    (for those tight people who wont get it – I'm being ironic and insulting coz only an idiot would have a life dream of burning a pile of holy books... therefore I am indirectly stating my disapproval and resentment)

    September 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  12. Micster5

    I'm sorry but this Minister is Totally Wrong! First We live in a Country that Supports Freedom Of Religion, 1st Ammendment, Yes he does have free speech but its not Christain. Whats one of the Greatest Commandments in the Bible that Jesus Gave Us Love thy Neighbor as thyself. What would Happen if Bibles where Burned or our Constitution. Think about it. I'm so Tired of the Judging. Each Religion has there Bad Seed and Good Seed. Yes Some Islams Attacked us but not all. HATE DOESN"T GET YOU KNOW WHERE. We have Freedoms in this Country We may Not agree with everyone but they Have their Rights.

    September 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  13. ur well wisher

    My dear friends let me tell u one thing.
    This event is held by some(not the complete christian community) people against MUSLIMS who think Muslims are TERRORISTS.
    But let me tell u that not all MUSLIMS are terrorists.
    ya i do agree that there are some(again not the complete muslim
    community) people from muslim community who opt for violence
    and i too condemn them but not the whole community.
    and now coming to the event that is being held,
    its just a foolish act as what they are planned to burn is the
    most sacred holy book of muslims which is read all over the world
    by million thousand people.
    and is the only book in the whole world which is highly read and there is no version in it.
    none of the two books(two quran's taken from two different places of the world) in the world differ even by one single word.
    this is the greatness of the holy QURAN.
    it is also the only book in which not even a single mistake has been detected till date.
    not just this.
    Quran is also the only book which is learned by heart (WORD TO WORD) by millions.
    i wud like to end my comment by saying that
    "IF u are a true believer of ur god what ever ur religion might be just think WILL UR ALMIGHTY GOD

    "THink Bfore u ACt"

    September 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  14. Priya

    The word Injil occurs twelve times in the Qur'an ( 3:48, 3:58; 5:50–51, 5:70, 5:72, 5:110; 7:156; 9:112; 48:29; 57:27) and refers to the revelation to Isa (Jesus). Most Muslims do not believe that the Injil in the Qur'an refers to the four Gospels or the New Testament. Although the Qu'ran refers to the message of Isa, the contents of the revelation contained in the Qur'anic Injil is not specified in the Qur'anic text. In Qur'an, the Injil is instruction for the righteous; Qur'an 5:46: "And We sent in their footsteps Jesus the son of Mary, authenticating what was present with him of the Torah. And We gave him the Injil, in it is guidance and light, and to authenticate what is present with him of the Torah, and a guidance and lesson for the righteous."

    September 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  15. CanAnyOneAnswer?

    No Muslim will ever Burn a Bible.. Because Muslims know about Zaboor, Tauret , Ingeel, and Quran.
    A Christian can burns a Quran because he doesn't know that he is buring half of the Bible... Hehehe!!!!
    May Allah forgive the sin of florida!!!

    September 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  16. CanAnyOneAnswer?

    Why didn't someone think once before killing millions of innocent people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    Why do you have Prison and Punish the Guilty?
    Does someone Celebrate and merry when their Girls\Women get pregnant from Others Than their Husband?
    Why did someone Kill millions in Afghanistan and Iraq?
    I would say burn every written Quran in this would... It is in millions of Hearts.. How will you burn it?
    Burn every Bible in the world... People will forget what was bible in 2 years..
    Quran is the book that teaches you the correct way of life... My humble request is to whoever wants to burn the Quran, Please read understand it once. If you still see this Holy Book is wrong you are free to burn it.. Allah is the creator and destroyer.. Allah will protect it.. I believe....

    September 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • Xugos

      What the hell are you talking about? If you're a muslim advocating burning the bible, you're quite obviously not a muslim because muslims believe in the Bible too.

      September 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  17. Ashfaq Khan

    Pastor jones looks like the DEVIL. enough said, He is a moron anyone who follows him is a bigger moron! Let him express his freedom rights until God Sets him right in HELL!

    September 6, 2010 at 4:37 am |
  18. DJmaddo

    There is nothing either good or bad about Islam. Burning the book is just crazy. I may be a Christian, but this is totally absurd. Have some thought on it before even burning it. Shame on you Americans. You can't answer violence upon violence. What's done is done. We need to respect and look forward for the betterment and the future... You think burning those holy books would bring peace and stuff? Think again.

    If not, 死ね!

    September 6, 2010 at 2:18 am |
  19. antuciput

    burning the qoran is not all christians, just a couple of weirdos extremist that need to be disposed, 9/11 bombing is not all islamics, just a couple of weirdos extremist that need to be disposed. sorry for the spellings guys.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  20. Civilization

    Hello? Islam IS an evil religion full of terrorism, oppression and murder. Look how it abuses women. Look how it kills innocents. Someone needs to stand up to the 6th Century bullies. Burning the Koran is a symbolic rejection of Islam.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:27 am |
    • CanAnyOneAnswer?

      Innocent: So People who were killed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Afghanistan and Iraq were not innocent? I doubt Mr. Civilization....

      September 6, 2010 at 3:09 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.