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. Eduardo

    Burn it all up!!!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  2. Mr. Sniffles

    And violence will follow upon violence.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm |

    Teri Jones and his friends should think about his actions.... which led to

    * 12 people being dead (their pain has ended)
    * 12 set of parents who have lost their son
    * brothers have lost their brother
    * sisters have lost their brother
    * friends have lost their friend
    * the murders who were caught will go to jail or be executed and so refer to the above

    Perhaps Mr. Jones and his friends are blind, perhaps they are just simple minded, perhaps they are not.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  4. stannard

    The test is? The preacher has nothing more to do with bombings in Pack then most muslims have to do with the 9-11 events.
    The preacher shows his lack of faith is all, we had the KKK. Someone else would have stood and gathered the weak minded. Bin Laden preaches that the west will destroy him, he is correct. However not with bombs but with the printing press, Afgan or most of the third world peoples can not read or write in the native language, ( i can spell a word more than four ways) HOwever I have learned that many places they still read nothing , use storytelling as entertainment an for gaining knowledge. The only books are bibles an or books of god,, to be treated with the same respect as the elders who tell the stories,, ther way.. ..
    Hate the others .the bin laden 's of the world hope you do. Weak little lion man he is, it will be the sure way to finish off his kind for a timel
    As for king james .. ha ha ha modern christains have Enstien. "He who has never stood in awe of the perfection is as good as dead and ues only his brain stem, relax even judas did what he was suppose too... Will Roger put it this way..
    " Those who fly off in rage always crash "

    April 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  5. Will

    Oh by the way ,who lives on the past is called a museum!!! Oh this religion did this, that religion did that! Your grandparents weren't even alive when that stuff happened!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  6. Will

    I got a great plan! Let us all forget those imbeciles in the middle east, who fight over a theory created when human society was dominated by animals, and don't do business with them. Find cleaner sources of fuel, so we don't depend on them, and let them continue to live in hatred of each other. Let's start caring about real problems on developed societies, such as climate change, broken health care and social security systems and health care.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  7. coder

    moses, mohammed and jesus all must be very proud of the murder spree they have started – blind religion causes idiots like terry jones and the rioters everywhere to do stupid things...mobs are very dangerous, hungry mobs are very formidable, suppressed hungry misinformed mobs are the perfect weapon for any religious nut with attention

    April 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  8. Jose

    Oye Vey , Another Looney Paster By the Name of Jones, but this one does not have kool aid.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Talon MacDonald


      April 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • cita camaro from ghana

      he s not a man of god cos if he is he will burn quran all the book from god ,he just want people to see that s all but he s not a man of god , man of god will never have bad mind to do that

      April 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  9. Kenny

    So called Pastor Jones calls the killings “tragic,” and urges 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.” Does he think he may have contributed to the accounting? Well he did and he should be charged. He had already been warned that his actions could indanger American lives. Knowing that could endanger Americans, he went on anyway. Now he should pay for his crime.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  10. KC_Here

    Jones should be charged with murder, period. He knew what he was doing and so did everyone else. If he's so proud of his first amendment rights then he should prove it and go burn one of those books over there in the middle east with those radical Muslims around him.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  11. Jon Leathers

    What a dumb debate.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  12. Tom

    Did the people who gave him a free car really think he would keep his promise? What suckers. Sure, it's your perogative how to practice your freedom of expression. But at least be mindful of the probable outcome. And to the violent criminals who killed 12 people. Live and let live! Don't let an eye for an eye make the whole world blind. The only offense we should have to employ is that of logic alone. Too bad we live in an imperfect world...

    April 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  13. john

    Idiots! These are the same people that destroyed priceless archeological treasures, i.e. the Buddhist statutes, in the name of their religion. They make me sick. I sometimes think there should be an international Quran burning day to protest this idiocy.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Ray


      April 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  14. john west

    Its amazing how one big mouth, attention getting, burned out "pastor" could screw up things this bad. He needs to disappear. The way gaddafi should disappear.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  15. GaryM

    I absolutely agree that Jones is an ANTI-CHRISTIAN nutjob. He tries to deceive the ignorant by presenting himself as a "'Christian' minister" but is actually promoting un-Christian ideas and hate by cleverly cloaking anti-religion messages in faux-Biblical terminology. HAVING SAID THAT, HOWEVER, as an American, he is expressing his opinion.

    We vehemently disapprove of neo-Nazis marching to promote anti-Semitic and racist views, but we allow it. We are repulsed by equally satanic and moronic anti-Christians belching hate at funerals of military heroes, but we allow it. And the devoutly religious among ourselves vehemently disagree on issues such as divorce, abortion, capital punishment, evolution and a host of other views formed by our interpretations of religious and/or moral values, but we don't kill one another over it, nor should we because we fear retaliation. That is not – and should not be -the way of civilized people. And civilized people cannot live in fear of the uncivilized, no matter where they are. The people of Afghanistan are, unfortunately, uncivilized.

    Another reason we need to leave there asap and let them beat one another up instead of foreigners who shouldn't be there in the first place. Some day, the people of Afghanistan will rise up, like the people of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Libya and other places, but only when they have had enough. It will happen then, and only then, and we can make it happen sooner.

    Jones is a repugnant and ignorant anti-Christian. But he has a right to his opinion and actions – at least in this country.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • GaryM

      "CAN'T make it happen sooner." (Typo earlier.)

      April 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  16. Religion Noble Lie

    religion is lie. outlaw religion. cull muslims. create disease that eating pork makes you immune to

    April 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  17. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    The Florida pastor's actions are a MINOR OFFENCE in comparison to the large scale burning of the Holy Bible, Churches, Temples, and killing/imprisonment of innocent minorities that goes on in Pakistan & the rest of the Muslim world on a daily basis. While the responsibility for the pastor's actions does not go beyond himself, the actions of the Islamic zealots in Pakistan and other Muslim countries go all the way from the mobs numbering 1000's or 10's of thousands indulging in such acts to the police, the government, judiciary who turn a blind eye. Even our SO-CALLED MODERATES (But in reality ISLAMIC SYMPATHISERS!!!) like Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA also have a role in stirring up the VOLATILE MUSLIM PSYCHE by DELIBERATELY holding all of America & the western world responsible for such irresponsible actions, while they show no such urgency with regard to the daily atrocities in their own Muslim lands.

    It's time we condemn all such actions whether in America or in Pakistan with the same breath, and in PROPORTION to the criminal acts perpetuated!!!


    April 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Ray

      Agree.Well put

      April 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  18. Rick

    I don't think this man represents anyone but himself. He is off somewhere on his own in his own little World. However, to think that muslims in Afghanistan would use someone like this for an excuse to kill innocent people is, well, terrorism. You should not be surprised. "Anything" is a reason to kill innocent men, women and children in the name of their religion.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  19. stanmanwplan

    Congratulations Mr. Jones. Your personal arrogance is responsible for stirring up this violence and death. You are the worst of all hypcrites. You. Personally.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  20. harry

    i hope that with those 12 people its the end of it, but i"m afraid that is not so. many more will die because of that retarded, idiotic, stupid, IGNORANT pastor. how dare he calls himself a pastor.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:13 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.