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. Sohail

    Please respect Muslim Holy Book QURAN. It is not right way to protest. Muslim want to peace in the world. Some peoples are making wrong, its dos'n mean every muslim is terrest. So if you do it then you are also same terrest and like hardship but Bible do'nt like such peoples. Please read Bible then make new decision.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:13 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      Trolly oh leo!

      August 24, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  2. Land

    you may burn all the Qurans in the world, but it wont stop me nor more than 1.5 billion people from being muslims.
    and I am frightened to imagine what you will get after the judgement day. Let Allah SWT be the witness and the judge. I rest my case.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:51 am |
  3. Christian to MUSLIM convert

    There is, was and will be only one religion: ISLAM. I have read the Holy Quran, and was taken away by the truth and logic that it exhibits. It is marvelous, timeless and beyond our moment, such that a book of its magnitude is definitely NOT man-made. It contains information of the past, future and present for those who take heed and revere. It is the truth only if you can perceive.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • H

      Mashallah! Ramadan and an early Eid Mubarak to you!

      August 24, 2010 at 7:29 am |
    • AmericanPatriot

      Are you for real. Get a life

      August 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  4. peace2all

    I have said it before..... Having a 'burn the Qur'an day' is a very bad idea is so many ways. Even the National Association of Evangelicals are calling for a halt to this event. As they are saying this event will cause..."world wide 'tension' between the religions.'

    World-wide tensions is putting it mildly. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something. This is not a matter of legality, but of morality. It is simply hate-filled extremist actions....with NO positive intention but to incite and keep the fires of hate burning.

    Just because some may burn a bible other countries, doesn't mean we should burn someone elses holy book here in the U.S.

    I expect more and better of my fellow Americans....

    Peace all of you.....

    August 24, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  5. ibrahima

    ahouzou bilahi mia chaytani wa rajimi.plese dont let evry body paying price

    August 24, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  6. Mohammed.I from CANADA

    To all my brothers and all MY SISTERS happy Ramadan mubark all so Eid mubark.

    August 23, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  7. Mohammed.I from CANADA

    To all my brother happy Ramadan mubark all so Eid mubark.

    August 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Fa la la la / Fa la la la / Fa la la la

      August 24, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  8. Reality

    Google "Muslims bible burning" to get all said references about Muslims burning the bible but note that once the "bowers" of Islam see how they have been conned by their imams and ayatollahs for the last 1400 years, they too will burn their copies of the koran i.e. the angel Gabriel never existed so there is no way that the warmongering, womanizing, and hallucinating Mohammed got any koranic passages from some god. Tis the great angelic con game. Joe Smith was the latest to pull it off with his "angelic" Moroni. The significant stupidity and gullibility of it all!!!!!

    And ditto when we the "pew peasants" of Christianity finally realize the con that has been pulled on us, we too will burn our bibles. I have not burned my copy but have relegated it to the mostly fiction section of my reference library.

    August 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  9. Reality

    After watching the following video, there might be a lot of people burning their copies of the koran:

    Pat Condell is a British stand-up comedian, but this video isn't comic, it's truthful historic perspective on this controversial issue.


    August 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  10. AmericanPatriot

    @Akbar Ali – – It is a punishable offense to criticize Islam. You can see why this one is a good supporting idea for the collection called Quren. It helps suppress any ideas that would reduce the authority of Islamic ideas. This idea is in the Quran, and Mohammad set a fierce example of punishing people who criticized him or Islam.

    August 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  11. Akbar Ali

    @ james B.Do you stand a guts to kill a single muslim.Well say things that can really be done,be practical.Don't dream about something which is never going to happen.Go get into your mothers shadow or have the guts to face the world.

    August 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  12. Akbar Ali

    What do they want to prove by burning Quran,there power.Well actually they are bunch of fools,cowards who are feeling insecure as if christianity is going to vanish if immediate action is not taken ...Well world knows the number of times the sinners are being trapped by wrath of the ALMIGHTY......Is there a single day when an American passes his day without the fear of getting slapped by tornado and other natural calamities,,If they are so religious then why they are so sick of others...Burning Quran will only add the wrath by the Almighty on them ....have a look in your sleeves before throwing muds on others.....

    August 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Rdevotee

      I am a Hindu who migrated to the U.S 24 years ago and I am amazed at the acrimony between Islam-Judaism and Islam- Christianity, Christianity-Judaism. I see them related – akin to cousins. What does it matter what religion one belongs to as long as one leads one's life with grace and compassion. I for one believe in reincarnation but it is a private belief and I have a right to my belief as you do to yours. To say Americans live in fear of natural events because of their beliefs is wrong. What about the recent floods in Pakistan? Who are we to even think we can understand the ways of the Creator? It is supreme arrogance on religious people's part to think they have the answers to inexplicable events. Let us learn to live with humility and kindness.

      September 7, 2010 at 2:52 am |
  13. adam

    CNN = lie the best lair in name and news= add this to rick's list and don th black dude can't remember his name. LoL

    August 23, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • Selfish Gene


      August 24, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Nuts

    Anybody that would participate in "Burn a Quran Day" should be permanently locked up in an insane asylum. There's no place in society for poisoned minds such as theirs.

    August 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  15. Syed Reza

    3:84 (Asad) Say: "We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed by their Sustainer unto Moses and jesus and all the [other] prophets: we make no distinction between any of them. [68] And unto Him do we surrender ourselves."

    Quran Chapter 3

    August 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      That you have a book is not in dispute. How do you know what you typed is true? How do you know Allah is real? The Christians don't think Allah is real.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • AmericanPatriot

      Another Potential terrorist. get a life. How about some beer and ladies

      August 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • jonathan

      if you believe in the descendants of Abe then why attack the twin Towers Huh? That don't look like belief..let the Koran burn 🙂

      August 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Another Potential terrorist. get a life. How about some beer and ladies"

      Umm... maybe the lady thing should be left alone. Doesn't he get 72 of them if he... Never mind.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  16. Syed Reza

    Since 9/11, Islam has grown faster than any other religion and faster than it has grown ever in the same period. There is a reason for that. People who want to learn what it's about are finding out the truth and converting. No one can stop it..Burn as many copies as you want, It'll make Islam stronger than ever before.

    August 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • David Johnson

      It doesn't really matter if everyone on earth converts. Doesn't mean it is true. Everyone thought the Earth was flat in Jesus's day.

      Tell me why you think Islam is the one true faith? Do you have proof?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • jonathan

      grown faster where??? not here...and if it's true then you are boasting in OSama b laidout...which means the koran shoudl be burnt.. 🙂

      August 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
    • H

      You want proof? Go read the Qur'an instead of burning it and go talk to a Christian who reverted to Islam.

      And Islam has started to spread faster- in the USA! Go check up stats my friend. Your own CIA have said that Islam is still spreading the fastest in the world and in the USA.

      August 24, 2010 at 7:34 am |
  17. Syed Reza

    3:45 (Asad) Lo! The angels said: "O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ [32] jesus, son of Mary, of great honour in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God.

    These are words of the Quran...The same Quran that many of you say is EVIL. The same Quran that this Church in Gainesville plans to burn....Go ahead and burn it, you are being burning the words of God that praise YOUR Jesus Christ and his blessed mother......You are all ignorant...learn what the Quran says. Maybe you illiterate idiots will learn something.

    August 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • Illiterate idiot

      If we are all "illiterate idiots" how can we learn what the koran says? Enlighten us Oh Wise ONE!

      August 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Now wait a minute! Our Christian fundies aren't stupid (god forgive me for telling a lie). They know darn well that Muslims don't believe Jesus is the son of god. The Muslims think Jesus is a prophet.

      You can't pull the wool over our religious fanatics' eyes, by golly!

      August 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
    • Kate

      @Illiterate Idiot

      If you're an illiterate idiot, how do you know you were called an illiterate idiot?

      Just sayin'

      August 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • jonathan

      Is that what the Koran says that we are illiterate idiots????? 🙂

      August 23, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • AmericanPatriot

      Dude, you are Crazy. Forget it, it is only a book. Burn it away 🙂 . You are an ticking time bomb, you need a chill pill and some beer.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • Illiterate idiot

      @Kate That was an oxi moron, apparently you proved my point on both counts. Illiterate and idiot!
      Yes Jonathan they think we are illiterate idiots who dont know the "truth". Which is if we dont convert to islam we are infidels (the enemy of allah) and must be destroyed. Heartwarming concept isnt it?

      August 23, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Mohamed was illiterate. What does that say about his followers?

      August 24, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  18. sabir

    nobody can stop you from burning the QUR'AN. but "BEWARE" the OWNER IS SIMPLY THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVEN AND EARTH. Just a reminder!

    August 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • David Johnson


      But the Christians think their god was the creator of the heaven and earth. They think you are going to hell because you don't accept Jesus.

      What do you think about that?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • jonathan

      the man burning the Koran doesn't believe that neither do I ...we believe the bible the new testament and what;s in the new testament is so complete that we understand there is no need for another.... that about sized up our feeling for the book that inspires men like Osama Bin laden who is every bit the hero in the Muslim world 🙂

      August 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  19. saadia

    i am 15 and proud to be muslim
    people u suk.. be respectful , be tolerant wot other religion
    peace .. the news sources says the talibans make it so muslim has nothing to do with that
    also the HOLLYWOOD MOVIE 9-11 IT IS FAKE

    August 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You are 15. Grow a bit, before you insult.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • AmericanPatriot

      @saadia, You said "I am 15 and proud to be muslim" – Lets us know when you plan to blow up yourself to hurt the civilians. We will make sure to stay away from that place.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • jonathan

      burning the Koran is a simple way to show contempt for it..what it represents ...you want people to respect the Koran then stop those who use it to murder hate stiffle and etc etc etc.... 🙂

      August 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      I saw ground zero, the World Trade Center did in fact crumble. Not fake.
      Nice grammerz btw. OMG <3 angels

      August 24, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  20. Tammy Ortiz

    there should a civil way to deal with this issue. These people that have join togeher to burn Koran in hoping to get away way with a "false belif" have their ideas crooked. If they claimed to belived in the Bible they would know what the Bible teaches about giving not evil for evil. THis ain't going to change anything. I mean were is the freedom of religon here. THey must think about want they are doing. I am a Christian and i do not support what they are doing.

    August 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Tammy Ortiz

      You said, "there should a civil way to deal with this issue"

      What about rock, paper, scissors?

      August 23, 2010 at 8:59 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.