Timeline of Florida's Quran-burning pastor
Florida pastor Terry Jones.
April 1st, 2011
01:33 PM ET

Timeline of Florida's Quran-burning pastor

On Friday, a bloody attack on a United Nations building in Mazar-e Sharif is suspected to have been carried out by a mob protesting  last month's Quran burning by Pastor Terry Jones.  The Florida pastor made headlines last year when he threatened to burn Qurans to protest Islam, on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  On March 20, he went through with the act, this time failing to attract widespread media attention.  However, the incident triggered outrage in Pakistan, which condemned the desecration and called for him to be charged with terrorism.  Here's a timeline of events leading up to the Quran burning:

July 2010

Pastor Terry Jones, head of the 60-member Dove World Outreach Center church near Gainesville, Florida, announces he will host "International Burn a Quran Day" on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He tells CNN at the time that the event is to protest "the brutality of Islamic law" and that "Islam is of the devil."

The event is roundly denounced by a number of groups, including the National Association of Evangelicals.

August 2010

Religious leaders in Gainesville, Florida, hold a peace gathering to show solidarity in their opposition to Jones' planned event. The city of Gainesville denies a burn permit to Dove World Outreach Center, but the church says it still plans to go ahead with the Quran burning. Jones says an armed Christian organization, Right Wing Extreme, will provide security for the church. The organization later pulls its support, saying the event "does not glorify God."

September 2010

Jones signals that he may reconsider the Quran burning after a warning from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that it could put U.S. forces in danger.

The Vatican and others continue to urge the church not to burn Islam's holy book as worldwide protests start to heat up. Meanwhile, the U.S. military prepares for the worst.

Days before the planned event, Jones gives mixed messages about whether he intends to carry out his plans: He calls the Quran burning off, then says the church will "rethink our position."   As the date approaches, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama publicly urge him to call off the event. Jones also announces he plans to travel to New York on the day of the planned burning to meet with the imam behind a proposed Islamic center near ground zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks.

On September 11, 2010, Jones tells NBC, "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever."  He heads to New York where he sets up a meeting with the imam in charge of the proposed ground zero Islamic center.   Speculation that Jones called off the Quran burning as part of a deal to move the proposed Islamic center is disputed by a Florida Muslim leader.  Meanwhile, analysts criticize the media coverage of Jones and speculate whether it was all a publicity stunt by a pastor from a small Florida town.

October 2010

A New Jersey dealership gives Jones a free car for calling off the Quran burning.

December 2010-January 2011

Jones is invited to speak at an English Defense League rally in February 2011, but the British government denies him entry.  Jones vows to take legal action.

March  2011

Jones announces he will hold "International Judge the Koran Day" on March 20, in which he stages a mock trial of the Quran, burns the Muslim holy book, and posts photos on his church's website. The incident receives little media attention in the United States, but is publicly condemned by Pakistan's government. The country's interior minister calls for international terrorism charges to be leveled against Jones, according to The Associated Press of Pakistan.

Jones says he plans to take part in an April protest at the American Islamic Community Center, in Dearborn, Michigan, outside Detroit. The protest against "Sharia and Jihad" is scheduled for Good Friday, two days before Easter.  Officials at the Islamic Center of America are still deciding how to respond, though they are leaning toward a Good Friday counter-event that would bring together religious leaders of different backgrounds to encourage tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

April 1, 2011

Protests break out in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan against the March 20 Quran burning in Florida. A United Nations source says an attack on a U.N. building in the city that left 12 people killed - eight U.N. workers and four Afghans - followed those protests.

Jones issues a statement calling the killings “tragic,”  and urging the United States and the United Nations to “hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities.”

- CNN.com Senior Producer

Filed under: Florida • Islam • Pakistan • Quran

soundoff (606 Responses)
  1. Mohammad

    When Islam is blasted from the face of the earth I will say "now they are a peaceful religion".

    April 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  2. James E Valent

    While I firmly believe in the Bill of rights, I abhore this incendeary use of free speach (book burning). In my lifetime, I've seen the KKK and the American Nazi Party march with the American flag. In my view, burning the bible, the Torah or the Quran or any other religious books are a misuse of the right to free speach. How can Americans have freedom of religious beliefs if we can't accept the right of others to practice their own beliefs in their own way. The view that the Quran is the work of the devil is an individual's right to believe in but expressing that view in public is the same as yelling "fire" in a public plsce. Is Pastor Terry Jones aware that his actions are not in the spirit of the Bill of Rights and he may be doing great harm to otheers view of America and possibly killing or doing harm to our troops abroad. May god (in any other name) bless him with the true meaning of his belief and forgive his trespasses.

    April 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  3. K Howard

    Anyone ever heard of Buddhist related war? No, without the nonesense of your books and concepts as something else to grab and cling to what would your ego's have to do?

    April 2, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  4. K Howard

    Time for Mankind to gorw-up and wake up.

    Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundations—in short, by metaphysics. —Albert Einstein

    By becoming attached to names and forms, not realizing that they have no more basis than the activities of the mind itself, error arises and the way to emancipation is blocked. —Buddha

    The external world of physics has thus become a world of shadows. In removing our illusions we have removed the substance, for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions. —Sir Arthur Eddington

    Although not really existing, things still appear. From their own side, however, (such things) are void by nature. These void appearances to not actually exist . . . They have no foundation, no support, no beginning, middle, or end. —Longchenpa

    The atoms or the elementary particles . . . form a world of potentialities rather than one of things or facts. —Werner Heisenberg

    In Buddhist Emptiness there is no time, no space, no becoming, no thing-ness; it is what makes all things possible; it is a zero full of infinite possibilities, it is a void of inexhaustible contents. —D. T. Suzuki

    According to general relativity, the concept of space detached from any physical content does not exist. —Albert Einstein

    If there is only empty space, with no suns or planets in it, then space loses its substantiality. —Buddha
    Truth is what stands the test of experience. —Albert Einstein

    The real meaning of the Dharma . . . must be directly experienced. —Siddha Nagarjuna ▼

    From Einstein and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings. © 2002 by Thomas J. McFarlane. Reprinted with permission of Ulysses Press.

    April 2, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  5. Brent Vermillion

    The thing that needs to be considered here is that pastor Jones or any other american has the right to burn, the coran, the bible, the satanic bible wicca publications, playboy o the new york times. This all relates to are basic freedoms and rights as americans - freedom of speech (expression), freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Book burning has its' roots in the early christian church. The apostle Paul and the new believers at Ephesus burned their books and trinkets from magic and witch craft when the repented and became christians. Muslims (even Muslim governments) regularly burn Bibles in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and just about everywhere else in the islamic world. While I do not know, agree with or support Pastor Terry Jones, I fully support his right to do this and would not want to live in a country that does not allow this kind of freedom. The fact that muslims in foreign countries (or potentially even within the USA) respond to this be committing acts of terrorism and murder only show their true colors. They (those who murder and act to produce terror in others) are the true terrorists. I thank God everyday that I do not live under a government that practices islam or sharia law.

    April 2, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Muneef

      Brent Vermillion.

      Guess you are right then but just wonder if that has to be practiced with international media and not privately ...

      April 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Divine retribution is the word and thanks to pastor Terry Johns and who ever supported his acts...if you people hate your selves suggest you burn few more...mass suicide is the word...no different than those who blow them selves up killing innocents which their irresponsible acts....and talk about peace on Earth...? Who are they fooling but them selves...

    April 2, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Mohammad

      you are fooling yourself. Islam must be burned to death. We will start with the Kuranic lies and go from there.

      April 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Any thing happened in Florida last night? Was that any reward to Pastor Act of Burning the Words of God? Bet you wouldn't believe even if a tsunami swept you off just as JPN....! The more is done the closer the doom is for those evil hearted...
    Invented a source to blackmail but Holy rewards will be even more than expected...It will become bye Florida once upon the time you were on the map..

    April 2, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  8. steve

    all you people with religion are just so nuts and so stupid.
    it is always the christians and the muslims trying to tell the rest of the world how to live and is more than ready to be violent when someone disagrees.
    i just wish you would all kill each other and leave the rest of us people who do not pray to ' santa claus in the sky ' alone.

    April 2, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  9. Susan

    I condem the Quran burning out of hatred, I also condem killing innocent people for a crime they did not commit. Unfortunately people on both sides are abusing religion. We have to learn that religion is not guilty of what people do under its name, it is the people that commit the crimes in the name of religion.

    April 2, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Muneef

      I condem the Quran burning out of hatred,!!

      Never thought same could be done but out of Love...??!

      April 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Adnan

    Blame the American government because this vile American man should have been silenced one way or another a very long time ago. I feel so sorry for the people that have lost their lives in Afghanistan. This vile man is America's home made terrorist who has triggered events that killed his countrymen. Wake up American's do something about this terrorist.

    April 2, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  11. Sal

    Do not do it! There are borders man shoudl not cross. Cosmic disasters are not pretty!

    April 2, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  12. catch22

    The man is a idiot! Worse than a donkey, look at his picture. He has no respect for any religion, just leave him to GOD he will get what is comming to him. We need peace in this world not hate.

    April 2, 2011 at 5:58 am |
  13. T.J.

    Question why is it that when muslims burn the bible and our American flag nothing is said. But when you burn their UnHoly quran all hell breaks lose and we non muslims are branded racists? Muslims practice double standarded..

    April 2, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • James

      Any action like that should be condemned!!!!!!!!

      April 2, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • bethe123

      Hmm.... CNN Islamic appoligists, any answer?

      April 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    Pastor Jones did what christians and muslims did to our religious buildings and materials when they came to Yorubaland in Nigeria. They burned our religious things to impose christianity and islam on us. While the christians left shrines untouched for tourist purposes, the muslim burned down most shrines including the 700 year old Moremi shrine in Ota. All said this pastor Jones is suffering from ATTENTION SEEKING PERSONALITY DISORDER

    April 2, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • James

      Jesus would have never have condoned any action like this. You are absolutely right; Jones is an attention seeking evil man. It is radicals like this that give all of our religions a bad name. May your god bless you!!

      April 2, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Muneef

      You mean black mailing for more gifts....a new car maybe.

      April 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  15. dumprep

    I think the pastor is the one who is Satanic. He is the man who invoked the killing of UN workers in Afghanistan. He should stand a mock trial by the Afghans now, and let's see what parts of his body they'll cut off.

    April 2, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Mohammad

      i hate dumprep. it freezes my computer.

      April 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  16. Jesusfreakazoid

    This was another fine act by a Christian. Aren't they great? And now 12 people are dead because another outstanding religious group goes off the deep end. This happened in the 21st century. Amazing.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  17. Pam

    I knew that if Jones ever burned a Koran, there would be retalition. He knew that, too. So, many people are dead because he wanted 5 minutes of fame and attention. His actions proved nothing...absolutely nothing other than that he is ignorant and didn't care about possible revenge on people who had nothing to do with him. He has blood on his hands. Yes, he did not kill them, but Jones knew this could happen. He has a place in the afterlife – where it is hotter than Florida.
    My son is deployed to that city. Do you think we need any more blood shed over a war we didn't want. Why incite something that proves and achieves nothing. Thanks for endangering others by your stupidity. I do not believe Jones is a man of Faith. He is a man of self.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Cody

      Excellent comment. i agree, he put his ego over the lives of innocent people, knowing that his actions could cause rioting and death.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Hashim

      Great comment. "hotter than Florida" True that!

      April 2, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • James


      I agree. I am Christian and Jones's actions are far from Christian. I am also an American. Judging Islam for the action of some radicals on 9/11 is very similar to judging Christianity for the action of this evil man. As Christians we are taught to love all living things. As Americans we are taught to respect freedom of religion and speech. Not to abuse it. I am so ashamed for this man’s actions. This guy is evil. Next he will be offering the purple juice to his followers!!


      April 2, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Mohammad

      you have no idea how stupid you sound. Pastor Jones just did his own thing, he killed no one, did nothing wrong. I will burn a hundred kurans and i will be doing nothing wrong.
      what is wrong is thinking like a hostage to insanity. the only ppl who did anything wrong are the muslim murderers and all the muslims that ever were.
      your son must be stupid to work for the coporate masters of the usa, but thats his choice. i hope he kills billions of muslims.

      April 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  18. BG


    The string has sprung. Reply button's are out of order.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • mg

      No, they aren't.

      April 2, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • BG

      Great. Just a hiccup.

      April 2, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  19. Happy Hippie

    I burned pages of the bible when I was out of zig zag papers and blunts. I would have used a koran but the hotel had only a bible. You know the pages in the front with no texts. I was celebrating the burning bush.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Happy Hippie

      I also want to say religious freedom for rastsforians, Christians for cannabis, Temple 420, the Hindus that toke, etc... Did you know that the United States keeps these peaceful religions from their form of prayer. Please contact your local political chapter and complain marijuana is almost harmless therefore it should be legalized for medical, religious and recreational purposes.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  20. Steve

    Good Job! I'm glad he expressed his freedom of speech. This is AMERICA where we're FREE to do so. That's one thing that makes this land so GREAT! More people should do this if they feel that this religion is evil and want to voice out against it in a PEACEFUL way. He did not kill anyone, he did not threaten violence. He simply burned their book. We see people burning our flag all the time. Hell, burn our bible if you want. It doesn't change that I'm still a Christian and I'm secure in my beliefs. This exemplifies why Muslimisim is wrong that such actions "cause" them to behave this way.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Matt

      First off, really? Muslimism? It's called Islam you ignorant hick. Secondly, just because Christians treat their "holy" story book like crap by putting on the floor and not caring much for it at all doesn't mean that other religions have to do the same. By burning a Quran you are doing much more than attacking a religion. You are attacking something dear and important to a people who have nothing more than God in their lives. Thirdly, expressing free speech is great, but spreading hate speech is not tolerated and never will be. By burning the Quran he sent a message of hate and intolerance. Lastly, don't base and entire population on the actions of a few. Islam is 100% against violence and killing is not tolerated in anyway. This is true Islam, a peaceful religion, not the "Islam" you are seeing on t.v.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Matt wrote: " Islam, a peaceful religion"

      Really? Don't forget that it was initially spread using the sword... Only later did it become a method of pacifying the population into a stupor...

      April 2, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • rose

      I fully agree with you, the Bible is burnt again and again .. so why all this hype about the Quaran – because they always use violence to silence us.. A programme called South Park joked about every religion but when it came to the Musilim religion they were threathened. WHY??

      April 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Ezekial

      STFU Matt you blathering idiot. I suppose you imagine that you sound enlightened with all this BS about how burning a book is more than just attacking a religion. No simple simon it isn't. In America we can burn whatever we want(almost). If some idiots from 5000 miles away decide to kill people as a result of that then they deserves your criticism not the man who burned paper, but the men who destroyed flesh.

      You've got religious tolerance shoved so far up your ass that you can't see when it isnt even in play anymore. Bottom line Terry Jones burns Quran – Legal, Muslims kill 12 human being illegal. Understand?? Read it again slowly if you must.

      April 2, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • James


      OK. Freedom of Speech? Well, I grew up Southern Baptist, but my freedom of speech says to kill all Christians.

      Really? NOT. Free speech? Anyone can THROW that stupid logic around.

      I'm sure that you think that having a surface to air missile is your right to CARRY ARMS. Really? NOT!!!

      April 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
About this blog

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.