Quran reading
September 13th, 2010
08:48 AM ET

Churches read from Quran in face of proposed Quran burning

Journalist Amy Zerba filed this report from Gainesville, Florida:

Rev. Larry Reimer says there's a simple message at the core of his faith: people have more in common than they have in conflict.

It's one reason he chose to have a passage from the Quran read at the United Church of Gainesville, part of the United Church of Christ, on Sunday.

And he wasn’t alone.

More than 20 religious leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds around Gainesville had the same Quran passage read - along with Christian and Hebrew scriptures–  at their congregations over the weekend. Local synagogues made it part of their Rosh Hashanah celebrations.

It was a sign of unity after weeks of talk by a Florida pastor who threatened to burn the Muslim holy book on 9-11 but who ultimately cancelled the event.

“It just seemed that the reading of Quran was the most affirmative thing we can do,” said Reimer, who has served at the United Church of Gainesville for 36 years. “You might say (we) befriended the Quran and brought it into everyone’s framework, everyone’s point of view.”

Reimer came up with the idea a few days after he learned of the planned Burn A Koran Day from worried parishioners. He approached local religious leaders to join him in reading common Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scriptures at their Sabbath services.

The response from the community was overwhelming positive, he said.

Shanna Johnson, 40, a member of the United Church of Gainesville, said the proposed Quran burning forced the Gainesville community to talk “rationally” with others about different faiths.

“The things that we have in common can really come out in this type of situation,” Johnson said.

Reimer plans to continue connections with clergy from other faiths. A group of religious leaders will meet in October in Gainesville to try to improve interfaith relations.

“My whole ministry, my whole faith is designed around the sense that we have much to learn from each other that we are a common family and that our division is not among religions but it is among fanatics and extremists on both sides that we have to overcome,” Reimer said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Florida • Houses of worship • Islam • Muslim • Quran • United States

soundoff (555 Responses)
  1. billgoblue

    Christians, Jews and Muslims share the same God. The Old testament, Torah and Koran start off the same way. Jews and Muslims missed their first chance at Jesus, there will be another. All true believers can do is pray for the salvation of non-christians. One path, One Savior.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • johnnyhouse

      Why can they not agree on anything?More people have been killed in religious wars than all other wars.Man has to dominate, even in his religion, even if it is only in his head. Something is amiss here.When he can not look around his surroundings and see the things that work so perfectly he has not seen God, he has only seen religion.

      September 13, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  2. Hugh Jarce

    Islam is the enemy of personal freedom, the oppressor of women, and the literal interpretation of its laws lead to terrorism and murder on a huge scale. If this were to be a "new" faith with a limited number of fanatical followers, we would call it a cult and take steps to dissolve it. Why can we not speak the truth and admit that Islam is perhaps the greatest evil the world has ever known, and act accordingly.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  3. Mdk

    Well BURNQURAN.COM is on ebay I hope a muslim buys it otherwise....

    September 13, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  4. Collin

    There is no multiculturalism in Islam. In Islam when they are in the minority, they desire tolerance. When they are in the majority, they just want you gone. Look to Europe, look at the news out of Indonesia. Look at Dearborn Michigan, where the muslims attacked Christians handing out pamphlets.
    Islam should be classified for what it is, a violent proselitizing political ideology and then banned in the west, much like Germany banned fascism.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • Frogist

      @Collin: If you could provide any factual information to support your claims, I would love to read them.

      September 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  5. Charles

    In response to the "proposed" Koran burnings, Muslims around the world "burned" bibles and in some locations burned effigy's of the Florida Pastor.

    Let's see, I am upset because someone is proposing that they will burn the religious book I believe in, so I am going to show them thats wrong by burning ahead of time the book they believe in.

    Am I missing some logic here?

    September 13, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • frank

      Charles, this is religion we are talking about, take your "logic" elsewhere. If everyone was logical, there would be no religion.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  6. johnnyhouse

    Why not just practice the ten commandments and do away with religious hate?

    September 13, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  7. rm

    Religion = Politics. Nothing more. I do not need a priest, or an imam, or a monk or a shaman to tell me what God is saying and surely God needs no middleman to hear me. God needs no interpreter, mouthpiece or agent. If God wants to talk to me; I'm right here and I'm listening. All these pretenders who intervene on God's behalf are just in it for the money and the power. Religion =Politics.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • johnnyhouse

      I agree. If you have to have a multi million dollar house of worship, tax exempt, to spout you hate or your religion you have missed the real message that there is only one God.

      September 13, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • DebST

      Amen to that. Couldn't agree more. JC himself would be appalled at how his name is used and thrown about to leverage political power...

      September 13, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • SomeTruth


      And what does "God" say to you? Does he say anything that you wouldn't say to yourself? Does he tell you anything that you don't already know, or that you could dream up using your imagination? Does he tell you facts that you couldn't possibly know otherwise, such as your complete genome pattern, or who are the 'real killers' in the OJ case, or what's inside of Arcturus?

      You are talking to yourself - and answering (oh my!).

      September 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  8. mike

    i cannot believe all the hype and drama over a simple civil protest. no one burned THE LAST KORAN. there are millions of korans available for anyone to read, any time they want. a statistically-insignificant portion has been burned by others as a protest against the islamofascists that have become the public face of Islam (largely through the silence of the supposedly less-radical majority). that's all that happened, just dumb paper being burned in the interests of even dumber symbolism.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  9. Reality

    I want to start a religion that will make people think that they must suffer while they are still alive. That they must be meek. That they must turn the other cheek when someone does harm to them. That they must live poor, but give all of their cash that they can to me, since I will run the religion. For all of this effort, they will receive a big big big reward. But not just now, er...um...after you die. That's it!!! after you die, then you will get your reward. Send your money to me. Oh wait a second, that religion is already taken. Dangit! I thought that I had something going here. Eh, who would go for such a thing?

    September 13, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • peace2all


      Now THAT was funny..... 🙂 Made me laugh...thank you pal.....


      September 13, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Reality


      I appreciate the compliments but I did not make the comment. Another "fly" for this blog is that "Names/IDs" are not restricted to one person unlike other blogs.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Kate


      I could help you fix that but you can't even be bothered to adjust your cut and pastes despite evidence proving your data to be wrong so I doubt you'd follow the hints 😛

      Just sayin'

      September 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Reality

      Kate, Kate, Kate,

      As requested before, what data are in error?

      September 14, 2010 at 9:12 am |
    • Kate


      I've given you the info, given you links, you simply ignore it. I'm not as fond of repet|tively cross-posting the same things to every topic I can find as you, so I simply suggest you go back and pay attention to previous threads. You can't miss it, it's addressed to you directly.

      Just sayin'

      September 14, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  10. johnnyhouse

    Why not just block our post and not take the cowards way out of censorship instead of putting them up waiting moderation.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Frogist

      @johnnyhouse "cowards way out of censorship"? what???
      Anyway just as a tip, the auto-filter system blocks words that are questionable. Even if those words are contained in other words. E.g. Const!tution has the word t!t in it. Circ-umnavigate has c-um. And any reference to s'ex has to be written with something to break up the word.

      Don't be so paranoid. You remind me of Don Quixote fighting windmills... but with less grace.

      September 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  11. ronee

    all religions, races & ethnic groups have thier lunatic fringe. When McVey & partner blew up the fed building in ok city no 1 felt all christians were suspected terrorists. Asnt history showed us how wrong it is 2 hate a whole group of people just because theyre part of that group. If u dont remember think of the holocaust, serbia, rwanda. Not all muslims are terrorists. Innocent muslins were also killed when the towers fell along with jews christians athiest & just about every other religion. By blaming a whole religion instead of trying to understand & get 2 know our muslim neighbors all we are doing is fueling the terrorist fringe. This country was supposedly founded on the idea of religious freedom. We as a country havent always shown that we still believe that. Isnt it time we did!

    September 13, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Frogist

      @ronee: I absolutely agree with you. Americans have forgotten what America is supposed to be about. We really could use a Martin right now.

      September 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  12. nOT Trash

    This blog is extraneous, as is religion.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Raj

      We are to pray for those who are ignorant. I will pray for you.

      September 13, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  13. Justice4all

    For over three hundred years slaves were lynched, castrated and murdered in the name of Jesus. Also slavery was justified using the Bible as its defense. After slavery Christian terrorist using the name Ku Klux Klan burned crosses and lynched Black people and other people of color for eighty years or more. Does this mean that we can't read the Bible or think Jesus is not holy because of select few insane individuals? Now we have Muslim "terrorist" that commit acts of violence in the name of Muhammad. Also insanity. Does this mean that Prophet Muhammad was not holy and the Quran can't be read because of more insane individuals.

    Let humanity always thirst for truth no matter what form it may come.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:07 am |
    • peace2all


      Pretty well said my friend....


      September 13, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • steve

      Muhammad was a warlord that killed people with his own hands, and had several other people murdered. He led armies into battle. He led "raids" on caravans - you know what that means? he killed people and stole their property. Muhammad was not holy or spiritual in any way. this is all from islam historical sources. Jesus was holy and a man of peace, Muhammad was a killer and a thief. Do some research.

      September 13, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • peace2all


      Still doesn't discount 'all' of the atrocities, including the witch hunts and the inquisitions and the crusades, by the way against Islam...... Lots of killing going on in the name of Jeeeeeeeeesus and Christianity.......


      September 13, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Frogist

      @steve : can you speak to what Justice4all said? Do you have a response to it? Or are you just going to deflect the questions and continue to act holier-than-thou?

      September 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  14. johnnyhouse

    I think that every preacher that supported the castigation of the preacher in Florida should be required to hire an American, fluent in Arabic, to read the Koran to its flock to every Sunday until it is finished. Only then, after the flock has heard it,and its meaning, decide where our differences are.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  15. Raj

    And it is not about religion because religion is crap. Ha, Ha. It is about a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • nOT Trash

      You are dating him? Does he put out?

      September 13, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • SomeTruth


      Fine. Just keep your fantasy of your imaginary friend to yourself.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  16. Catherine

    News 5 first reported in Pueblo, Colorado A koran was nailed to a stop sign on the street this morning.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • peace2all


      Well..... that is just wonderful news...! Some wacko fundies still just don't get it. Just because you have the right to do something .....doesn't mean it 'is' the right or good thing to do....



      September 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  17. Raj

    Justuandme: Peoples are trying to bring everyone together. Thats why religions and people are trying to bring are together.
    And your right. Human nature tends toward evil that why we need Jesus. He can set us free. Frank: There are not all same.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  18. jim

    Religious diversity is promoted only by those who know that all religions are crap.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  19. frank

    In the great words of Reverend Lovejoy, "Have you considered one of the other major religions, Ned? They're all pretty much the same."

    September 13, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • steve

      No, Islam and Christianity are polar opposites; Christianity is about grace, Islam is about legalism. Those are two opposite belief systems.

      September 13, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  20. justuandme

    I think most are missing the most basic understanding. Religion is not an issue here - not by the least... it is humanity. Us (everyone – humans) as a race is a bit disappointing. Let me explain as simply as I can. If all the worlds people were of one race believing in one religion. We as a race would find something to hate another ....you are too tall, you live on the other side of town, you like the color red. Its the human nature we live in now and needs to change. I mean these issues exists within each of the respective races now. Until we overcome and understand everyone existence and shared spaces just as the various animals do as in the wilds of an African plains.... we may have a chance to live long enough to see the end of the Earth's natural life.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • TammyB

      So very true. Humans, as a whole, can be terrible, although most strive everyday not to be so. Human nature can be a great and horrible thing!

      September 13, 2010 at 2:11 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.