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. James

    Well, we generally provide the weapons to them. AH, Freedom to carry arms. Oh, you mean tanks and surface to air missiles?

    Would I think such a thing? The National Rifle Association would. Anything goes in America. Freedom to commit violence and death!

    April 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  2. angela

    The only ones I feel sorry for is the soilders. I don't give a crap about the muslims bible.

    April 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  3. 7-11 Owner

    So, let's get this straight.... As long as you are a Muslim, it's permissible to BURN THE HOLY BIBLE, BURN and TRAMPLE ON the American flag, and CHOP THE HEADS OFF OF HUMANS in the name of ALAH. But when a free American burns a Quran, all hell breaks loose. The Quran hangs in my bathroom. Makes great toilet paper! More satisfaction in disposing it that way than a quick burning!

    April 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • James

      I assume that you have seen this "permissible" burning, stomping and "thrashing of teeth". Sorry, the thrashing of teeth comment is Christian. I think not!

      More likely, you spend way too much time in your bathroom. I'm not sure what your doing though. Laugh, Laugh, Ha, Ha!

      April 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  4. Shawn

    All I have to say is WOW. Nice job representing the church you idiot. A man who preaches faith and is supposed to be a moral support character for others and he decides to make his whole country and the church look ignorant and racist. Guess who just reserved his seat in Hell to burn right next to gadaffi. What happened to tolerance, understanding and working together with all races for the common good. If GOD was watching you RIGHT NOW, trying to make a decision whether to END YOUR WORLD IN 2012, or let you continue, which one do you think you are recommending people?

    April 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • James

      A great point!

      April 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  5. scrollman

    Someone is missing the point. All ancient texts have been re-written, re-translated, and mostly ignored in favor of using snippets that promote the individuals interpretation of reality. Islam, Judiasm, and Islam share the same roots. The current religious unrest reminds me of the political scenerio which led to the policy of MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION in the event of a nuclear strike. Nobody wins. Read The Fallujah Scrolls.

    April 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  6. Shaomti

    As long as people continue to pray to the Desert War God of the Middle East, there will be war, hate, genocide and atrocities. All of you have been deceived.

    April 3, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • James

      The United States produces and exports more weapons than the rest of the world combined. Does this sound like a peaceful country with a peaceful people?

      If we are a Christian nation, as some say, we are a very poor example of one. We make the weapons, we export the weapons, and then we go to war with those who have our weapons.

      Capitalism must have its limits! Common sense anyone?

      April 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  7. sherri

    These men profess to be Christians, but they are not true believers. They are extremists who are using the name of Christianity to insult Islam and gain attention to themselves. We must, as Christians, condemn acts such as these. God has the final authority and will judge them.

    April 3, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  8. l adams

    Jesus said, 'Those who live by the sword, die by the sword'. Christians are called to love.
    True Christians are those consecrated to Christ and are known by their 'love'. If love is not evident in action, it is therefore
    not Christian.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  9. JRF

    Burning of a Quran is a criminal act, an incitement to violence and disgrace for the christian community. It also puts a a lot of people in danger. All religions should be respected at all cost. pastor STUPID should be held accountable for the violent deaths in AF.

    April 3, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Ha

      It's NOT a criminal act in this country. And it's just a book. Paper and ink. Nothing to get worked up over.

      Maybe we should deport YOU back to your Muslim friends who will be glad to kill you for defiling yourself in USA.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  10. Sthrm


    April 3, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  11. alexmaster

    US forces and afgan police have put so much effort to bring peace to afganistan and this moron ruins it!!!!

    April 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Concerned Atheist

    "Jones announces he will hold "International Judge the Koran Day" How about we have an International Judge the Bible Day? This man just cost many people their lives and the killing is most likely not going to stop there because of his actions. Despite what you're belief's may be, we need to come together as human beings and realize that we all bleed the same blood.

    April 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  13. Me

    Did anyone take a really good look at the minister? Is that what a guy who believes in God looks like? Whoa, wouldn't want him any where near me. Not a very happy camper, is he? Bet he doesn't eat a lot of bran either.

    April 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • James

      This man is no "human" that I would recognize. The DEVIL maybe!

      April 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  14. Me

    Can we deport that minister over so he can deal with the mess he has created? Please.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Mike

      Totally agree with deportation. He put Americans in danger, he is not American, he then does not want to live here – deport him.

      April 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Theoderic

      I am with you! Laughing already.....

      April 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  15. Rafael Reyes

    In all honesty, I think if muslims are so upset, get a bunch of bibles and throw their own burning party. This is why Religion is mankind's greatest folly. It inspires nothing but hatred and irreconcilable differences. History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like weapons, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it.

    April 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • James


      April 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  16. Muneef

    Al-Hijr sura 15:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    We have, without doubt sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (9) We did send messengers before thee amongst the religious sects of old: (10) But never came an messenger to them but they mocked him. (11).

    April 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Strike yourself

      You think yourself a messenger yet you say nothing but the words in a book. You are a fool. May Allah burn you all to death.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well couldn't explain it better...what are my words compared to the words of God inspired to his messenger...

      April 4, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  17. Muneef

    [15:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

    [15:1] A.L.R.* These (letters) are proofs of this scripture; a profound Quran.

    [15:2] Certainly, those who disbelieved will wish they were submitters.

    [15:3] Let them eat, enjoy, and remain blinded by wishful thinking; they will find out.

    [15:4] We never annihilated any community, except in accordance with a specific, predetermined time.

    [15:5] The end of any community can never be advanced, nor delayed.

    [15:6] They said, "O you who received this reminder, you are crazy.

    [15:7] "Why do you not bring down the angels, if you are truthful?"

    [15:8] We do not send down the angels except for specific functions. Otherwise, no one will be respited.

    God's Messenger of the Covenant*

    [15:9] Absolutely, we have revealed the reminder, and, absolutely, we will preserve it.

    [15:10] We have sent (messengers) before you to the communities in the past.

    [15:11] Every time a messenger went to them, they ridiculed him.

    [15:12] We thus control the minds of the guilty.

    [15:13] Consequently, they cannot believe in him. This has been the system since the past generations.

    [15:14] Even if we opened for them a gate into the sky, through which they climb;

    [15:15] they will say, "Our eyes have been deceived. We have been bewitched."

    April 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Strike yourself

      Muslims have burned many Q'urans and this is good? They bomb one of their own mosques and no one is bothered by that in Islam? Q'urans burned in a bombing are just books I guess according to the Muslims. But when one guy in Florida burns a book it suddenly becomes a big thing? You are insane liars. Your Q'uran is worthy of burning. Where can I get one?

      April 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      Yep Strike yourself

      April 4, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  18. Faithless

    Now, if we could just convince Muslims that the Phelps family in Westboro burned a Quran, we'd be doing the world a REAL favor.

    It's too bad Christians believe suicide is a sin. Otherwise, we'd have "martyrs" on both sides.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Matt

      Suicide is a sin in Islam too. the people killing themselves are not Muslim. They are extremist who no nothing about Islam.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tammy

      It is so amazing that the people who are claiming that Islam is devil and the Muslims are bad people. These Christians claim that muslims spread hate, did you ever stop for a moment and thought about that by burning Quran are you spreading love. Oh or maybe Jesus told you that it is Ok to disrespect other religions. Oh maybe its in the Bible to hate other religions lets have a Bible burning day since it is its teaching.

      April 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • sherry

      As a Christian, I grow tired of the bashing in every faith based article posted, but it is my duty to be well informed and so I wade through it. All Christians do not think Islam is the Devil nor do we believe Muslims are bad. Having been to Afghanistan, I learned that they are much more faithful to their religion than Christian Americans are to ours. However, in my continued belief that ten percent of any given population ruins it for everybody else, those Muslims who are extremist are believe in jihad accomplish exactly that. Christians have our own ten percent, as evidenced by Westboro Baptist Church with the Phelps clan and now Terry Jones from Florida. It is shameful that people must die at the hands of misguided Muslims because of the irresponsible acts of misguided Christians.

      April 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • sherry

      correction: and believe in jihad

      April 2, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  19. Iqbal khan

    It is a common misgiving among many non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, had it not been spread by use of force. The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that led to the rapid spread of Islam.

    1. Islam means peace.
    Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah (swt). Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah (swt).

    2. War was an exception than arule in Islam
    At times, the force has to be used to maintain peace.
    Islam stands for peace. However, it allows its followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. Thus in Islam, force is in fact used to restore peace and justice.

    3. The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book "Islam at the cross road" (Page 8): "History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical
    Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated."

    4. Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years.
    Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims in Spain never used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came to Spain and wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim in Spain who could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers.

    5. 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians.
    Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. For a few years the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 1400 years. Yet today, there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians i.e. Christians since generations. If the Muslims had used the sword there would not have been a single Arab who would have remained a Christian.

    6. More than 80% non-Muslims in India.
    The Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim of India to Islam. Today more than 80% of the population of India are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim
    Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.

    7. Indonesia and Malaysia.
    Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, "Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?"

    8. East Coast of Africa.
    Similarly, Islam has spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. One may again ask, if Islam was spread by the sword, "Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?"

    9. The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book "Heroes and Hero worship", refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: "The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it

    10. No compulsion in religion.
    With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse:

    "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error" [Al-Qur’an 2:256]

    11. Sword of the Intellect.
    It is the sword of intellect. The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Qur’an says in Surah Nahl, chapter 16 verse 125:

    "Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious." [Al-Qur’an 16:125]

    12. Increase in the world religions from 1934 to 1984.
    An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, year book 1986, gave the statistics of the increase of percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in ‘The Plain Truth’ magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, and Christianity had increased only by 47%. May one ask, which war took place in this century which converted millions of people to Islam?

    13. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe.
    Today the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The fastest growing religion in Europe in Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in such large numbers?

    14. Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson rightly says, "People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMAD (pbuh) was born".

    "Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; And consult with them in ways that are best and most gracious." (Al Qur'an, 16:125)

    April 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mark Knight

      "Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; And consult with them in ways that are best and most gracious." (Al Qur'an, 16:125)

      Apostasy in Islam is commonly defined in Islam as the rejection in word or deed of their former religion (apostasy) by a person who was previously a follower of Islam.

      Some prominent recent examples of writers and activists killed because of apostasy claims include Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, Faraj Foda, Rashad Khalifa, Ghorban Tourani, Necati Aydin, Uğur Yüksel, and the Egyptian Nobel prize winner Najib Mahfouz was injured in an attempted assassination, disabling him until his death in 2006.

      Sounds kind of like the mafia to me. Once your in, your in for life (one way or the other).

      April 2, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  20. Soren Kierkegaard

    People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

    April 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Kristine

      No one has the right to take the life of an innocent human being because of a book.
      Books are just words made of symbols called letters to represent the thoughts we create.
      Words at their best, only partially represent our thoughts, because words by definition distort thought, while conveying some information that thoughts represent, words will always be incomplete and distorted representations of thought.
      What is most important to understand is...We are not thought. We are what exists before thought. We are witness to thought.
      There fore the words that represent these thought are insignificant compared to the actions that are carried out by them.
      If the Quran said kill, kill, kill, then that would be simple enough, the murderers would indeed be good muslims.
      The Quran, however, is twisted thought in it's original form, to further twist it to infer that God wishes those who burn to be murdered is a more than a slight stretch. It is a full blown delusional, psychotic episode.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • James Brooks

      I'm confused! Christianity has been the bloodiest movement in the history of man. Growing up in a Southern Baptist home, I have seen this teaching first hand.

      This pastor of a 60 member "church", has got to be held responsible for his "sociopathic" endangerment of Americans worldwide. How can one man create such damage.

      This behavior is a indication of a mentally sick person! He is obviously a danger to others, and MUST be commited. As an individual who is on mental disability, I HAVE SEEN THIS BEHAVIOR FIRST HAND.

      If abortion Doctors can be assassinated, maybe this solution should be considered. There are "terrorists" on both sides.
      This man is a terrorist. Treat as one.

      Free speech has to have its limits, when it creates an environment dangerous to society. HIS "FREE SPEECH" IS EQUAL TO YELLING FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER.

      HE MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. America, we are better than this. Somehow we must neutralize him and his "church of hate".

      April 3, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Ed

      IWhat's in a name? don't know whether it has been said before here, but people have to recognize that there are organizations that hold services at churches and call themselves Christians who do not follow Biblical teachings. I am seriously considering not identifying myself as a Christian in this generation, because the broad range of organized religions practicing under the 'Christian' heading are so diverse and so many of the ones reported in the news are like Westboro Baptist or Dove and I don't personally care to be in any way confused as being part of an organized religion to which either of these groups identify themselves.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Boondock

      Book is just a book . . . killing people is another things . . . a mistake of one person is not a mistake of all . . . if you have faith in god . . . let god punished the wrong doers . . .

      April 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • DADA

      No one has the right to take the life of an innocent human being because of a book.
      The above comes from Kristine, I support her to the end, and I will burn the book this weekend, and every weekend.
      Our rights to burn cannot be taken away. So it's `Burn-Baby-Burn' time again. History repeats... Terry Jones should
      be in congress. He's more then words he's action.

      April 3, 2011 at 3:01 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.