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. Bob

    What a fantastic response this interfaith reading is to a crazy plan to burn the Koran by a crazy pastor. Yes Christians, Muslims and Jews have their differences, but when you get to the core of it...we all worship the same God. The God of Abraham. Yahweh, God The Father, Allah...all one and the same....Abraham's One True God. Yes yes, we differ on the details. We have different paths to salvation. And we all have different beliefs on the status of Jesus. Jews do not consider him to be the Messiah (they are still waiting for their Messiah), Christians believe he IS the Messiah, while Muslims believe Jesus was one of the great prophets, but that the last and greatest prophet was Mohammed. But even with these differences, even with the different paths we take...the goal is the same, the different paths lead to the same place, the same Supreme Being. We should look to our similarities more than our differences. I am a Catholic, but I am open minded and respect other faiths...specially the faiths with the same root as my own. In my view, we are just different branches of one and the same tree, with the same roots. Peace to you all.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  2. beanybaby

    Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 236)

    I wonder if they read that part?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Rick

      Yet they read Genesis, which has some wonderful passages about adultery, sleeping with your daughter-in-law, sleeping with your sister-in-law, and, oh, yeah, let's not forget about Lot's daughters raping their drunk father and having children by him.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mojonaamdi

      Sahih Bukhari is a collection of traditions/sayings of the prophet that was collected and organized several hundred years after the Prophet died. While it a secondary source for Muslims, it is not considered to be error free. In fact, it is well known fact that Imam Bukhari discarded over 600,000 of his reported traditions/sayings of teh Prophet, because he could not verify it's source or some link in the chain of narrators was missing or some link was not trustworthy.
      Many scholars puts Aisha's marriage to the Prophet (PBUH) at closer to 18 or 19 years of age. They use a more precise scientific method (timeline of events and reports) to do this.
      Fact is the propher Muhammad was married to his first wife, Khadija when he was 25 and she was 40. He stayed married to her and only her until she died at around 60 years. That means that for over 20 years, he only had one wife who was much older than him. Several other women he marriied later were also much older than him and he narried them mainly to offer them protection after their husbands were killed in battle. So the charges of marrying a girl aged 6 or 9 is absolutely rejected and just does not fit the profile of a man who after all spent the most youthful of his days married to a much older woman.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  3. Devout Atheist

    After reading all this back and forth about who's book is more flame-retardant, two quotes come into mind.
    "I'm still, thank God, an atheist." ~Luis Bunuel
    "God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed" ~ Luis Bunuel

    Even though I'm personally atheist, I do like the leaders in the article who are at least trying to get everyone to get along. They have my applause.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  4. Mojonaamdi

    Quote from Holy Qur'an 10:47
    "And for every nation there is a messenger in every Era. And when their messenger comes (on the Day of Judgement) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged."

    There are other similar verses in the Holy Qur'an that says every nation was sent a messenger and that God will not judge a people to whom a messenger was not sent. Yes, Muslims do believe that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last of the messengers, however here again Muslims are told in the Holy Qur'an that God does not make any distinction among the messengers. Jesus, Moses, Lot, Abraham, etc. (peace be upon them all) are all considered messengers of God by Muslims and one cannot be a Muslim and not believe in them (as Messengers of God). Muslims accepts Jesus (pbuh) as a prophet and not Divine.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • mark

      The Quran agrees with the miracle virgin birth of Jesus. What does the Quran state in regards to the other miracles of Jesus...aka healing the blind, walking on water, raising the dead? Also, did Muhammed perform any miracles....besides writing the Quran?

      September 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  5. nymomof3

    If all the people on this planet would be more tolerant ...then perhaps peace wouldn't be so far-fetched. As one who was raised "christian" I don't ever recall being taught that Islam was wrong (and being that the Bible was revealed before the Quran....pretty unlikely that it could have pre-dated the very existence).... To read something of a different faith – does not make you that faith – but gives you an understanding of others. And that is the main thing missing in this country I call home. We don't have any understanding of eachother and are so intolerant and ignorant that we don't know the difference between a Pakistani, Egyptian, Uzbecki, etc. As a Muslim now in my adulthood – I do wish that my fellow Americans would be whatever faith they want (reliigious freedom you know) and stop brainwashing and infecting our children with the disease of hatred and ignorance. I've seen Christians put down other Christian denominations (mostly evanglicals saying that Catholics aren't Christian) and i've seen the same divide amongst Muslims of different countries/traditions). FAITH IS NOT SUPPOSE TO DIVIDE US. Does it hurt for a Chrisitian to know and understand what Yom Kippur is? (NO!); Does it is make you less Jewish to have an understanding of what Eid-ul-Fitr is? (NO!) ... Does it hurt for a Muslim to understand the significance of Easter? (NO!) ... Without udnerstanding and tolerance ... we as a the human race ...will surely die by our own ignorance.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  6. American Man

    American Man
    I am going to buy a copy of this book and burn it tonight.

    3000+ innocent Americans died on 911 and many more since the USA took the offensive against the radical muslims. If you are a muslim in American and object to burning a book or publishing a picture of your prophet – leave this country for a more tolerant society – if you can find one, otherwise, shut your mouth and enjoy the freedom provided in this nation.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • Lar

      And how many Muslims perished during Bush's Shock And Awe on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11?

      September 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • Rick

      Millions of innocent people died in the Thirty Years' War, some of whom may have been your ancestors, all because greedy politicians couldn't agree on the exact nature of things some guy said 1600 years earlier. We need to destroy the symbol of these deaths. Burn a Bible, and burn one today.

      No intelligent or correct person cares one damn bit about 9/11, and anyone who starts citing it is simply playing politics to befuddle the ignorant.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • TammyB

      And burning the Quran will bring those 3000 people back, along with them the approximately 300 who were in the WTC that were Americans that were Muslims? It's a religion, dude....many people here act like muslim means non-American. Many Americans are practicing Muslims who have been here for generations. They are not the problem.

      September 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • peace2all

      @American Man

      Why....I think you 'already' posted this same 'garbage' up top...!! You really are giving 'American Men' a bad rap dude....chill out on the burning of the books thing.

      Makes you look and sound really ignorant, intolerant and well.... acting like a fundamentalist idiot.....

      But if it makes you happy, you go and burn that Qur'an tonight with your bottle of whiskey....


      September 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  7. Patrick

    Good can come from evil. The Florida "pastor" threatened to burn the Quran. The result is more people hearing its verses than would have happened had the "pastor" remained silent.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • George Waugh

      It depends what verses they are reading. It was because Pastor Jones read all of the Koran that certain verses caused him to consider burning it.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      @George waugh:Terry Jones has never read the Quran:

      September 13, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  8. RushIsKing

    Wow i was surprised that Koran actually instructs its followers to follow Jesus's teachings and Muslim belive in Christ's return. All be it is with Mohammed but they are waiting for Jesus to come back too. Google it. Peace be with you all.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • George Waugh

      A careful study of the Koran will show that it teaches that when Jesus Christ returns that he will kill all of the remaining Jews and Christians that did not convert to Islam and that even the trees and the rocks will cry out if a Jew or Christian is hiding behind it. Islam does not accomodate any other religion.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  9. Peace


    September 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  10. Daniel

    Throughout the history of mankind more people have been killed because of religions than anything else. Now, a minority of the Islam faith are killing their enemies(americans,etc) in the name of their religion. It is human nature. God told me he does not approve. I am fielding questions today for God if anyone has questions, etc that they want relayed to the Lord.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • Mojonaamdi

      No true Daniel. Let's only go back the past 100 years or so. WW1, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iran/Iraq War, Kashmir conflict, etc., ; none of these were because of religion. Israel/Palestine is about land, so was Hitler's war, etc. etc.
      Religion gets blamed because of just a few who uses it as a means to further their own ambitions and that makes good press. Just like this nut in Florida. He has a flock of barely 50 people and got press coverage from all over the world. Thousands more Pastors with hundred of thousands followers, made statements of peace and tolerance and yet got very little coverage compared to this nut.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Daniel: What are the lotto numbers for tomorrow night's drawing?

      September 13, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  11. Jacob

    Islam is a form of government that is encompasses church and state, something that Democracy by design can never be. Democracy can never claim the priviledge of dictating what a person mus believe to be moral and correct. In contract, Islam is. That’s why when Islam and Democracy clash, by design Islam will be “deferred to” over democracy because of the potential backlash over "government sponsored" morality infringements. People are much more willing to die for their church than for their government. How convenient it is that Islam is both. Do you follow the logic? If not, please return to the top and read again.

    Take a look at this video:


    France’s freedoms are being infringed upon by the Islamic community and France can do nothing about it. How long will it be before this happens in the USA? How long will it be before Sharia law is practiced along with Democracy? What is stopping the Islamization of America?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  12. Armanee

    TO tbubb
    NO confrontation intended at all.. but for you to boldly say that the quran is full of falsehood and is misleading... is really a strong statement.. and i would like to ask u... if u have any evidence whats so ever to prove that the quran is wrong.. I have nothing against any religion... i respect everyones right to choose what they want... but before i give out a statement i make sure to have proof for it.. like there is proof that the bible has been re written many of times and everyone is fully aware of the fact that the bible was written in the favor of the priests who had more power than kings or governments of their time at that time. The Quran has never been re written .. only in the sense for those who dont speak or read arabic..(translation/ transliteration) i am pretty sure that before the re writing of the bible it was much more close and similar to the Quran .. the only major difference is the fact that we do not believe that Jesus is the son of god.. I appreciate the fact that they came up with this and they are trying to open the minds of those who either get their information through media.. or word of mouth.. its nice for the general public to be able to get a piece of the Quran, and realize that Muslims are actually something other than what the media portrays. Thank you once again.. Peace be with us all... God bless..

    September 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  13. Jason

    As a matter of fact I downloaded a copy on to Kindle on Saturday, and read the first two or three chapters just yesterday. I will continue to have an open mind, throughout the book.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  14. NL

    You know, what some really forward thinking believers really ought to do is to combine the Qur'an with the Bible as a single text. Really, just call it the Holy Scriptures of God. The Bible already combines the Christian scriptures with the Jewish, so why not add the Muslim scripture as well? Just add it onto the end. It really wouldn't make for a much bigger book, and I think that all three faiths would benefit from this. What do you think?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • peace2all


      Ahhhh I love you buddy...! Great idea....! Wow now that would be a sight to see and a good read.....especially after the 'they' have decided on what stays in and comes out of said book. I love it...

      By the way NL....How have you been....? I hope that you are well.....


      September 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • Frogist

      But what about the Mormons? Can we add them too?

      September 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • peace2all


      Why of course..... we can add the Mormon's too... especially 'the book of Mormon'..... But, let's not stop there..... How about Scientology and the sacred texts of 'Xenu'......? 🙂 What would we call it then...?


      September 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Kate


      "Reality's worst nightmare"?

      Just predictin'

      September 13, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  15. SoulCatcher

    I love John Stewarts track on this topic...He is spot on!

    September 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  16. zak

    someones got their eyes open! shes a fake! no mountains gunna be moved by this little girl.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  17. bamaluvin'

    either the WHOLE Bible is true or it is not.
    the Bible speaks of peace, love and Jesus being the only way to Heaven. it does make mention of many things; creation, lineage, 10 commandments, wars, adultery by great men who had fallen, jesus' miraculous birth, jesus' life, messages of how to live, how to obtain salvation by faith, jesus' healings, jesus' death and resurrection. it is not a 'feel good' book that predominately teaches of love and freedom among the world, but rather the relatinship between man and GOD (in the Old Testament), man and Jesus, and man and the Holy Spirit (New Testament).
    don't confuse the Bible with America and it's freedoms. i make no apologies as a Christian for believing in Jesus; what he said, how he lived, and what he plainly states is required of those who choose to follow him.
    finally, i do wonder when America will awake and realize that the Muslim religion is light years behind on what American's have fought for in relation to civil rights. women in the islamic faith are oppressed, treated as lesser creatures and separating from the faith can result in intimidation/harrassment or even death.
    you can be angry at christians all you want; that's what Jesus came for..to redeem them. i will apologize for what you have seen in this world as judgemental, hypocritical or a mockery of that faith. just as many believe that the terrorists of 9/11 do not represent the Muslim faith in whole, it would then be fair to say that extremists or those who use Christianity as a crutch, do you represent the Christian faith. In both situations, they represent fallen man and the need for a Savior.
    and some guy on here, said, he thinks that JC wants us to be peaceful more than worship him. please read the Bible. we were created to worship God and more times than not, God either created, caused or allowed wars that were for his purposes, not for tolerance or appeasement of the locals.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  18. Howard

    I'll just bet ... that if I had a dollar for every person who's written something negative about the Quran and who, in fact, has never even read the Quran ... I could treat everyone who has posted to this article to a truly sumptuous meal at a fancy restaurant. Don't be an ignoramus. Read a Quran before you pronounce any foolish opinions about what it says.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  19. nad

    @HS ...the most interesting book you read and enjoy is SAHIH MUSLIM ..hopefully you will understand the real meanings and teachings of that religion... good luck

    September 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • Kate


      OK, am I the only one around here who glanced at that and thought you said the book was called "Sarah Palin"?

      Just askin'

      September 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Shimon Cleopas

    Good news and bad news for Catholics.

    First the bad news: The last Pope was Pope John Paul II.

    The good news: Pope Benedict will be the first pope to receive the keys to the kingfom of heaven.

    Keys to the Kingdom of heaven equals the Five Loaves and Two Fish from a small boy. http://www.twitter.com/ShimonCleopas

    Required action from leaders: stop discussions then find the small boy. regards

    September 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Shimon: Catholics don't need help finding little boys... Oh just messing with ya Catholics!

      September 13, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • peace2all


      Oh no.... You didn't just say that... 🙂 10 hail mary's and whatever else to help you repent from sin..


      September 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • Kate



      Just kudosin'

      September 13, 2010 at 7:53 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.