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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. Mohammed.I from CANADA can any one answer me?

    Mohammed

    My dear friend, my question to you is what is the ratio of muslim to non-mulims in jain in the US? I'm from Canada and I have yet to hear of any muslims killing their parents, drunk driving, rape, theft, drug charges, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, etc. . If Islam is such a bad religion, why are there such a small ratio of muslims committing these henious crimes against humanity? How much do you actually know about what is in the Quran...do you know we believe in Adam and Eve, Moses, Jesus,Mary,Abraham,Ishamael and all the prophets that all Christians and Catholics believe in?Quran said all mankind are made my god and to love all and also animal up to now I used to have lot of love and respet for american people
    .All my life I work for American co .now I don"t know.so please some one answer my question.I am wathing for my answer from last night.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  2. tee bee

    does not the quran say kill the infidel meanihg any body but muslims. they mean to kill us according to the quran. but they say there a peaceful religion. i would not want to met a radical one .WAKE UP AMERICA there goal is to take over america.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  3. idhak

    people are burning the qur'an i really believe that the day of judgement is close there floods everywhere earthquakes
    the christian jews and muslims have so much in common but yet were so different treat others how you would like to be treated how would christians feel if we started a bible burning and said the christians were the devil

    August 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  4. verify

    Terry Jones, Mighty Vulcan, the God of Fire, (All Honor and Glory to Him – AHGH!) will not be pleased by your misuse of his gift. May He afflict you with boils.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  5. chris juelch

    LOL, burning any book, or banning books (sic),........is a moronic waste of time. Its symbolic, in that it symbolizes how very, very un-christian many christians are. These folks are not much more than hateful cult members with too much time on their hands. Why not spend the money to feed a poor family, instead of wasting it in a public advertisement of just how stupid religion can get. Hypocrites. Do something positive. Would your christ join in? Would he light some books on fire? Would he waste resources that could help someone?

    (I mean if he existed of course, LOL! cheers bigots)

    August 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  6. Nicole

    This is not an approach to sharing the Love of Christ with other Non believers...... If anything this will turn them away.... Yes we need to try to reach them with the truth in Gods Word the Bible but burning their books will cause them to shut us out. We need to reach out in word and action, showing respect. Im not saying Islam is correct, its far from correct but we cant expect them to listen to us if we go about burning there book.... We need to share in a gentle loving way whats wrong with that particular religion and if they chose to listen or not that's between Them and God, we plant the seeds God does the rest and wither they accept Christ or not is their choice all we can do is share and pray for them..... I don't like when other church's go about doing this stuff then the whole world thinks the rest of us are for it and are like this..... which we are not.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • leftoutagain

      @Nicole

      What's this "we" thing you keep saying? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      August 25, 2010 at 2:09 am |
  7. Muslim

    I think Tjones need to be burn instead the Quran! what do ya'll think?

    August 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  8. Muslim

    I think Tjones need to be burn instead of the quran! what do you think?

    August 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • TammyB

      Well, except that's illegal.

      August 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  9. justine

    What gives these people the right 2 do such a thing? Burn a muslim bible...yes, the muslims burned our flag, but 2 wrongs don't make a right!!

    August 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  10. Maui Jeff

    I think the government can not tell you if u want to burn a book or Not! On that Merit... Burn Baby Burn ..... FEAR the Government is TYRANNY But if the Government FEARS YOU its LIBERTY.... BURN baby BURN

    August 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  11. Innoke

    PLEASE PLEASE LETS MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE. LETS CONCENTRATE WITH OTHER MORE IMPORTANT CHALLENGES FACING US IN ORDER THAT TO LIVE PEACEFULLY AND CIVILIZED. WE ALL BELIEVE THAT WE CAME FROM ADAM AND EVE.AND WE BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, THEREFORE LET US UNITED AND LIVE IN HARMONY AND LOTS OF FORGIVENESS.

    THE WAY CHRISTIANS SHOULD ACT TOWARD MUSLIMS

    The Bible instructs Christians to live at peace with all people, as much as it is possible to do so. Further, Christians are instructed not to seek revenge for personal offenses, but to leave vengeance to God.

    If possible, so far as it depends upon you,
    live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge
    yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God;
    for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay,
    says the Lord."
    Bible: Romans 12:18-19
    (Revised Standard Version)

    THE WAY MUSLIMS SHOULD ACT TOWARD CHRISTIANS

    The Qur'an instructs Muslims to give Christians nothing to fear and not to cause Christians to grieve. Further, the Qur'an instructs Muslims that there should be no compulsion in religion. Therefore Christians, all of whom believe in Allah (God), believe in the Last day (Judgment Day) and try to do good, should be allowed to live in peace, even if they do not convert to Islam.

    [2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the
    Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day
    and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is
    no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

    [2.256] There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become
    clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan
    and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which
    shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

    Qur'an 2.62 and 2.256
    (Shakir Translation)

    We Are the World

    There comes a time
    When we head a certain call
    When the world must come together as one
    There are people dying
    And it's time to lend a hand to life
    The greatest gift of all

    We can't go on
    Pretneding day by day
    That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
    We are all a part of
    God's great big family
    And the truth, you know love is all we need

    We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day
    So let's start giving
    There's a choice we're making
    We're saving our own lives
    It's true we'll make a better day
    Just you and me

    Send them your heart
    So they'll know that someone cares
    And their lives will be stronger and free
    As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
    So we all must lend a helping hand

    We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day
    So let's start giving
    There's a choice we're making
    We're saving our own lives
    It's true we'll make a better day
    Just you and me

    When you're down and out
    There seems no hope at all
    But if you just believe
    There's no way we can fall
    Well, well, well, well, let us realize
    That a change will only come
    When we stand together as one

    We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day
    So let's start giving
    There's a choice we're making
    We're saving our own lives
    It's true we'll make a better day
    Just you and me

    August 24, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  12. Sameer

    He just needs attention, dont give him any !

    August 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  13. emad

    whenever someone burns books, it's a sign of slef defeat and inability to deal with the development. I do not praise terrorism, but this burning will create more terrorists and hard headed, blind minded muslims. The US government should prevent this act of hatred, it's isn't a matter of freedom only. I hope that fellow christians understand that Islam is not against them ideologically. The facts that the political events and wars are disseminating islam in one way or another. unfortunately, this not always done in a proper way.

    August 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • TammyB

      As much as I agree with you regarding the burning of Quran, fortunately (or unfortunately, however you want to see it), we have free speech in America, which prohibits the federal government from stopping this. However, we also have municipal laws against burning anything without a permit, which means the Fire Department will be putting out thier little fire, and fining the church big time. Hopefully, Muslims will just see this as the act of a few persons (I would say nut jobs, but that's not my place) that doesn't reflect the entire Christian religion or America as a whole.

      August 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  14. Baba G

    Mr. Terry,

    Love begets love and hatred begets hatred.
    Who are the people bombed by terrorists?

    You are not trying to burn Quran, you are burning bible. Tricky?
    You need to understand most of the deaths,injuries,and devastation by terrorists is caused to Muslims. You should have deep sympathy for them

    Thanks
    Baba

    August 24, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  15. Noreen

    All,

    I would like to thank all those intellingent people who disagree with burning the Quran. By burning the Quran nothing will be achieved other than creating resentment and from me, pity for the ignorance of those church goers. I will not refer to them as Christians because i do not feel they have understood the essence of Christianity and therefore do not want to link them to the true, believing Christians. Its is a simple matter of respect, one faith should not burn another faith's holy book. Freedom does entitle people to act in a way they wish, however it makes sense to draw the line at stupidity. Those who oppose religion of any kind, have you read any holy books? I truly suggest you try it, obviously if you are going to be narrow minded and arrogant then i suggest you don't bother, perhaps its beyond your comprehension that fundamentally all religions convey peace?
    Similarly it is not right for a Muslim, or anyone from another religion to discriminate, abuse or violate another person's religion. Muslims should not be judged for the actions of a minority and nor should Christians be tarnished for the ridiculous actions of this church.

    A message to the Muslims who have posted messages, don't stoop to the low levels of these people who have no respect for religion, convey the true message of Islam, as did our Prophet (peace be upon him). For those people who are capable of thinking with a open mind, i advise you to read the Quran not so you become a muslim, simply to understand it.

    August 24, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  16. Fahid Khan

    You can burn how many ever quraans you want. This has been done in the past many years ago.

    But our Quraan can not be corrupted as we learn the quraan off by heart. We still have the quraan in our heart and mind. You cant get rid of the quraan like that. To get rid of the quraan you will have to kill every muslim who has revised the quraan and it is embeded into their minds.

    It is a pointless act only done to provoke a reaction from the Islamic community. I hope the Islamic community do not react to this to give him the satisfaction that he so badly wants and just let him do what he likes and let Allah be the judge of hs actions.

    August 24, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  17. iraqiraq1996

    YOU ARE douning a big mistake

    August 24, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  18. tauseef patel

    my name is Tauseef Patel and i m proud to be a muslim.
    do whatever youll want to QURAAN IS IN OUR HEART.
    BLOODY BARSTARDS ULL CAN ONLY DO THIS. SONT HAVE HEART TO COME AND FIGHT WITH MUSLIMS.

    August 24, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  19. to the uneducated

    how can people who know nothing about a religion seem to quote and preech the religion as if they have studied it themselves? How many of you have actually studied a word of the Quran? If I went and bombed myself in the middle of westfield and claimed i was christian and my religion teaches us this would you all believe it? how can christians think burn Quran day will cause them any ease? is it very Christian to cause conflict and force aggrevation? targeting a whole religion in result of a few tiny minority of idiots is stupid. I'm pretty sure these people know that this will only aggrevate Muslims so its just going to cause issues for themselves. have people forgotten how many innocent lives the british and american soldiers have taken and it is justified by their uniform! its funny how people are quick to point fingers especially when they are ignorant and have no knowledge of the religion itself. this will only cause aggrevation and anger and conflict and if thats what christians preech they can all go to hell!

    August 24, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • WhathastheWORLDBECOME

      I agree , people are very ignorant these days and I hate it when people speak of things without having any actual knowledge or proof of any kind about what they are speaking of . And making this a world wide event is even worst and this will only cause conflicts within everyone around the world

      August 27, 2010 at 1:21 am |
  20. to the uneducated

    how \an people who know nothing about a religion seem to quote and preech the religion as if they have studied it themselves? How many of you have actually studied a word of the Quran? If I went and bombed myself in the middle of westfield and claimed i was christian and my religion teaches us this would you all believe it? how can christians think burn Quran day will cause them any ease? is it very Christian to cause conflict and force aggrevation? targeting a whole religion in result of a few tiny minority of idiots is stupid. I'm pretty sure these people know that this will only aggrevate Muslims so its just going to cause issues for themselves. have people forgotten how many innocent lives the british and american soldiers have taken and it is justified by their uniform! its funny how people are quick to point fingers especially when they are ignorant and have no knowledge of the religion itself

    August 24, 2010 at 10:28 am |
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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.