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Dove World Outreach Center Quran-burning controversy

dove world outreach center quran-burning controversy meaning, dove world outreach center quran-burning controversy extraordinary
In July 2010, Terry Jones, the pastor of the Christian Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, US, announced he would burn 200 Qurans on the 2010 anniversary of the September 11 attacks He gained media coverage, resulting in international outrage over his plans and pleas from world leaders to cancel the event Jones's threat sparked protests in the Middle East and Asia, in which at least 20 people were killed In early September 2010, Jones cancelled and pledged never to burn a Quran1

Nevertheless, on March 20, 2011, Jones held a "trial of the Quran" in his Gainesville church Finding the scriptures guilty of "crimes against humanity," the Quran was burned in the church sanctuary2 Protesters in the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-i-Sharif and elsewhere attacked the United Nations Assistance Mission, killing at least 30 people, including at least seven United Nations workers, and injuring at least 150 people345 Jones disclaimed any responsibility Norwegian, Swedish, Nepalese and Romanian nationals were among the UN workers killed6 The killing of two US soldiers by an Afghan policeman on 4 April 2011 was attributed to anger over the burning of the Quran7 American news analysts criticized and blamed Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, for drawing attention to the Quran burning8


  • 1 Terry Jones
  • 2 2010 threat to burn a Quran
    • 21 Background
    • 22 Reactions
      • 221 Local Florida
      • 222 National
      • 223 International
      • 224 Counter protests
      • 225 Governmental reactions
      • 226 Media reactions
      • 227 Actions against Dove World Outreach Center
      • 228 Death threats
      • 229 Other Quran desecration incidents
    • 23 Cancellation postponement and aftermath
  • 3 2011 burning of the Quran
    • 31 Reactions
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Terry Jonesedit

Further information: Dove World Outreach Center and Terry Jones pastor

Terry Jones was born in October 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri9 He attended college for two years, worked at a hotel, and joined the now defunct Maranatha Campus Ministries9 He moved to Cologne, Germany, where in 1981 he founded a charismatic church, the Christian Community of Cologne CGK910

Jones received an honorary degree from an unaccredited theology school in 1983, and began using the title "Doctor" He was fined for this misuse of a credential title by a German administrative court911 By the late 2000s, the CGK grew to have a membership of approximately 800–100010 According to the German magazine, Der Spiegel, the congregation kicked Jones out in 2008 due to the "climate of fear and control" that he employed, which included elements of "brainwashing" and telling congregants to beat their children with rods10 He was accused of improper use of church funds, and forcing congregants to labor for free10 A leader of the Cologne church said Jones did not "project the biblical values and Christianity, but always made himself the center of everything" Others accused him of being violent and fanatical12 Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that church members said Jones ran the Cologne church like a cult, using psychological pressure13

Between 2001 and 2008, Jones served as the part-time pastor of the Gainesville, Florida church Dove World Outreach, frequently traveling back and forth between Germany and the United States914 Jones assumed full-time duties at Dove World Outreach in 2008 after leaving the German church9 By September 2010, Dove World was said to have 50 members,15 with about 30 members reportedly attending services9

In 2010 Jones published Islam Is of the Devil, a polemic that claims Islam promotes violence, and that Muslims want to impose sharia law in the United States1617 After Jones announced the Quran burning, the German Evangelical Alliance denounced his theological statements and his craving for attention18

Following an invitation from the English Defence League, Jones considered attending a rally in Luton in the UK in February 2011 to share his views The anti-fascist group Hope not Hate petitioned the Home Secretary to ban Jones from entering the country19 In January 2011 the Home Secretary announced that Jones would be refused entry to the UK 'for the public good'20

Jones' actions have prompted a religious group to place a $12 million bounty on his head; Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militant group, has announced a $2 million bounty2122

On April 22, 2011, Jones planned to visit the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan to protest sharia but was arrested, tried and jailed2324 Local authorities had required him either to post a $45,000 "peace bond" to cover Dearborn's cost if Jones was attacked by extremists or to go to trial Jones contested that requirement, and the jury voted to require the posting of a $1 "peace bond", but Jones and his co-pastor Wayne Sapp continued to refuse to pay They were held briefly in jail, while claiming violation of First Amendment rights That night Jones was released by the court25 On November 11, 2011, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Ziolkowski vacated the “breach of peace” ruling against Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp on the grounds that they were denied due process Both men’s criminal records have since been expunged26

On the evening of April 22, 2012, soon after he was interviewed at WJBK-TV, Jones' gun fired accidentally as he got into his car27

The city allowed him to protest on April 29, a week after the trial, in a designated "free speech zone" outside Dearborn City Hall28 Muslim protesters lined Michigan Avenue across the street from City Hall About an hour into the protest, the crowds broke the barricades and a police line They rushed the street but were quickly contained by riot police crews The crowd was throwing water bottles and shoes at supporters of Jones Police worked to push the crowd back across Michigan Avenue At least one arrest was made29

2010 threat to burn a Quranedit

In 2010 Jones announced plans to burn the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, which he dubbed "International Burn a Quran Day" A wide range of politicians and religious groups strongly condemned the planned Quran desecration event Jones said he canceled the event and intended to go to New York to meet with the imam of Park51, Feisal Abdul Rauf30 After saying he would never burn the scriptures,31 on March 20, 2011, Jones oversaw the burning of a Quran

This prompted protests, including an attack in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of at least 14 people32 In April 2011, Jones claimed he is considering a trial of the Prophet Muhammad for "crimes against humanity"33


Dove World Outreach Center, where the Quran burning was to occur, is a small congregation in Gainesville, with approximately 50 members The church, led by pastor Terry Jones and his wife, Sylvia, first gained media attention in the late 2000s decade for its anti-Islamic and anti-homosexual messages In 2009, Dove World posted a sign on its lawn which stated in large red letters "Islam is of the Devil"34 Several members of the church also sent their children to their first day of school in August 2009 wearing t-shirts with "Islam is of the Devil" printed on the back35

The proposal to burn Qurans began with a series of Twitter messages on July 12,36 and a related discussion on the now-removed Facebook group "Islam is of the Devil", named after Terry Jones's book Jones invited Christians to burn the Muslim holy book to remember all 9/11 victims It was to be held from 6 pm to 9 pm37 The idea initially had little support and considerable opposition, but Religion News Service ran a story describing Jones's claim that he had received Qurans to burn CAIR refused to respond, but other religious organizations did On July 25 Jones posted a YouTube video in which he held up a Quran and said "This is the book that is responsible for 9/11 No, to me it looks like the religion of the devil" which garnered substantial media attention On August 3, Gainesville mayor Craig Lowe asked the world's media to ignore Jones's church as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community", but coverage continued to increase38 In early August, Sunni scholars at al-Azhar University in Cairo issued a statement warning of "dangerous consequences" if Qurans were burned36 US President Obama condemned the plan saying it would endanger the lives of US troops abroad36 American Muslims responded by saying they would celebrate September 11, 2010 as 'love Jesus day' emphasizing the fact that Jesus is believed to be a messenger of God in Islam Other groups asked people to celebrate Read the Quran day as a means to international understanding


Local Floridaedit

A Gainesville Interfaith Forum which was established in November 2009 in response to earlier anti-Islam activities of the church requested for the declaration of September 11 as "Interfaith Solidarity Day", a request that was honored by mayor Craig Lowe39 The Forum scheduled a "Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope" at Trinity United Methodist Church on the day before the planned burning40 Mayor Lowe referred to Dove World as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community"41 20 local religious leaders gathered Thursday, September 2, 2010, to call for citizens to rally around Muslims “in a time when so much venom is directed toward them”42


Protest against International Burn a Quran Day held in Delhi, India

Shortly after the event was announced the National Association of Evangelicals recommended that the event be canceled43 The Southern Baptist convention also spoke out against it 44 The World Evangelical Alliance "asks Muslim neighbors to recognize that the plans announced by a Florida group to burn copies of the Quran on September 11 do not represent the vast majority of Christians" "It dishonors the memory of those who died in the 9/11 attacks and further perpetuates unacceptable violence" The event is broadly condemned by American religious leaders45

John Rankin, President of the Theological Education Institute in Connecticut, has started a "Yes to the Bible, No to the Burning of the Quran" effort Also Jennifer Bryson is advocating Christian intra-faith dialogue and Christian rejection of "Burn a Quran Day"46

Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric behind the move to build a Muslim community centre near "Ground Zero" Park51 said that, should the burning of Qurans have gone ahead, "it would have created a disaster in the Muslim world It would have strengthened the radicals It would have enhanced the possibility of terrorist acts against America and American interests" He also added that retracting the decision to build the mosque would send a wrong message that "moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be Islam is under attack in America"47

A group of American veterans of the War in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan wrote an open letter to the Huffington Post calling on the American public to respect "the values we risked our lives to protect" "When citizens here participate in hateful rhetoric and intolerance toward Muslims, it leaves soldiers over there exposed" The letter concludes by asking "America, you gotta have our back"48

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "It's regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Florida with a church of no more than fifty people can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get, you know, the world's attention" She also said, "It doesn't in any way represent America or Americans or American government or American religious or political leadership," and she emphasized the hope of the US Government that the church would not go through with their plans49 US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called Pastor Jones asking him not to go through with his Quran burning50 The US embassy in Kabul issued a statement condemning the plans15 Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, criticized the plans stating "any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern to this administration"15

The commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus said, "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community" On the same day hundreds of Afghans protested in Kabul against the planned Quran burning event, chanting "death to America" and throwing rocks at a passing military convoy Military officials also expressed fears that the protests would spread to other cities Military officers at the Pentagon consequently said they hoped the rare incursion into politics by a military commander would convince Pastor Jones to cancel his plans The pastor responded to Petraeus' statement that, "We understand the General's concerns We are sure that his concerns are legitimate Nonetheless we must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam We will no longer be controlled and dominated by their fears and threats"51

Republicans in Congress also criticized Jones and his plans “Just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do,” said US House Minority Leader John Boehner52 Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin also criticized Jones, calling his plans "insensitive and an unnecessary provocation",53 and Republican 2008 presidential nominee John McCain and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both argued that the actions of Jones put American troops overseas at risk54 President Obama made a statement on ABC News regarding this event, stating that "what he is purposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans" He added that Terry Jones's plan to burn the Quran will put American soldiers at risk55 David Wood disagreed with pastor Terry Jones attempts in the Quran burning, and compared it to the Uthman Quran burning56 One book distribution website, SacredBookSourcecom, offerred to give away 1,001 free Qurans and 1,000 free Bibles for every Quran Jones destroyed57


The German Evangelical Alliance formally dissociated itself from the proposed Quran burning, because of the widely circulated report that in his time in Cologne, Jones had been associated with the evangelical alliance1858

The Al-Falluja web forum threatened a bloody war against America in response to the burning of the Quran59

Various other Muslims, such as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have argued that the Dove World Outreach Center is not following the true teachings of Christianity of tolerance and love6061 They quote Jesus: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you"Gospel of Matthew 5:44–45 The Head of the Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has stated that "Religious extremism, be it Christian extremism, Muslim extremism or any other kind, is never a true reflection of the religion"6263

On August 27, approximately 100 people protested in Indonesia outside the US Embassy Roni Ruslan of Hizbut Tahrir, which advocates Islamic law, said, "No one will be able to control this reaction We urge the US government and Christian leaders to stop the crazy plan from this small sect It's an insult to Islam and to 15 billion Muslims around the world"64 On September 4, thousands of Indonesians, mostly Muslims, took part in events across the country organized by Hizbut Tahrir Rokhmat Labib, chairman of the group, called the planned book burning a provocation and predicted that Muslims would fight back should it take place Lahib said that Muslims must not stay silent when their faith is threatened65

The World Evangelical Alliance condemned the plans to burn the Quran66

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement declaring that "A key tenet of our faith is to accord everyone the freedom to worship as they choose It is regrettable that anyone would regard the burning of any scriptural text as a legitimate form of protest or disagreement"67

The International Humanist and Ethical Union68 was also critical of the plans to burn the Quran

On Friday, September 10 in the northern Afghan city of Fayzabad, thousands took part in a protest against the planned Quran-burning following Eid ul-Fitr prayers Violent demonstrators threw stones at a German-controlled NATO base Initial reports said troops inside opened fire, killing up to three people and injuring several others, but a local police official said that only local police, not the NATO troops, were involved in the shooting6970 According to the acting police chief of Badakshan the protesters broke down the first perimeter gate surrounding the base and beat Afghan security guards and police on duty with sticks Before opening fire police allegedly fired warning shots and were also fired upon from the direction of the demonstrators, said the police official69 A local police chief talking to the BBC gave his estimates of the number of protesters to around 1,500 but said that the incident that led to the shooting was a separate one with 150 people participating This official also said that private security guards were the ones who fired at the people who tried to force their way inside the base71 NATO has launched an investigation into the incident72 General Zahir Khan of the Kabul police described Quran-burning a thinly disguised pretext for anti-government rallies with the Taliban in attendance73

Protest rallies were held in several other Afghan provinces: Nimruz, Kunar, Nangarhar, Parwan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Balkh and Farah The Afghan President Hamid Karzai also spoke out against the burning of Qurans saying, "By burning the Quran, they cannot harm it The Quran is in the hearts and minds of one-and-a-half billion people Insulting the Quran is an insult to nations"71 Protests continued throughout the next two days, with three protesters wounded on September 11 and four on September 12 as Afghan security forces shot into groups of protesters, some armed with sticks or throwing stones, to disperse them74 Two died in hospital due to severe gunshot wounds75 On September 11, protests continued in the country, when Afghan security forces fought back thousands of demonstrators Four demonstrators were wounded by security forces; firing when they tried to storm several government buildings in Pul-e-Alam, in Logar province They also hurled stones at such buildings as the department for women's affairs In Badakhshan province, another thousand people protested three separate districts, though the police chief said it was peaceful76

The prominent Qatar based scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi despite condemning the desecration said,

"Responding to an assault is not by carrying out another assault, as this is discouraged in Islam Moreover, we, as Muslims, are required to show respect to and believe in the divinely-revealed books and all preceding prophets If a person insults Jesus peace be upon him, I, as a Muslim, should feel annoyed by this and act in his defense This is what happened upon the release of a film which attacked Jesus: Muslims living in the country where the film was shown reacted angrily in protest We believe in and highly respect all prophets and messengers, including Moses and Jesus peace be upon them all The noble Quran even goes further and forbids us from cursing the pagans' idols, saying: And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest exceeding the limits they should abuse Allah out of ignorance Al-An`am 6:108"77

Small rallies were reported in Pakistan in Karachi and the central Pakistani city Multan with around 200 protesters71 There were also protests in Indonesia, Gaza, and India, a non-Muslim majority country78 On September 15, regarding reports that at least 20 deaths worldwide were connected to Quran desecration protests, Randall Terry responded that "Such logic is like saying that a woman who is abused by her boyfriend or husband is guilty of bringing violence on herself because she said or did something that irritated him"79

Protests in Kashmir escalated over several days, as Quran demonstrations quickly turned into separatist protests against the Indian government in the Muslim-majority province On September 13, protesters defied a military-imposed curfew, setting fire to a Christian missionary school and government buildings At least 13 people were shot dead by police, and one policeman was killed by a thrown rock; at least 113 policemen and 45 protesters were wounded8081 On September 12, a church was burned and a curfew instituted in Punjab82 Violence also spread into Poonch in the Jammu division, with three protesters shot by police Protesters burned several government offices and vehicles83 Police prevented the burning of a Christian school in Poonch, and another in Mendhar the next day, in clashes leaving four protesters killed, 19 wounded, but dozens of government offices, a police station, and eight vehicles were burned84 As of September 16, the Hindustan Times placed the death toll at 90, blaming much of the resentment on the indefinite military curfew, the first in ten years to affect the entire Kashmir Valley8586

In Somalia, the al-Qaida-inspired group Al-Shabaab organized a protest rally against the Quran-burning attended by thousands87

The head of Iran's Islamic Culture and Relations Organization labeled the Quran burning proposal a "Zionist" insult88 A group of Iranian students also protested outside the Swiss embassy in Tehran to protest the desecration of the Quran, and chanted slogans condemned the desecration on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks89 The Iranian House of Cartoon invited international artists to an online exhibition to condemn the desecration of the Qurans on the theme of Devil against Holy Books, Devil against Human Nature and Terry Jones More than 30 cartoons had been submitted from Iran, Turkey, Brazil, Ukraine and other countries since the event was announced on September 13 While there would be no prizes, the entries would be published at a later date90 Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called the proposal "heinous" at a joint press conference with his Malawian counterpart Etta Banda He also added that "The stance of the Muslim world, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, is transparent: Condemnation of this heinous, insulting and sacrilegious act by whomever perpetuated it We clearly see the hands of the Zionists behind all threats and provocative moves aimed to strain relations between the believers of various faiths This is exactly the sort of extremist move that seeks to realize their objectives through creating religious discord"91

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, said he had filed a complaint with the body to "attract the international community's attention to Iran's stance and to warn against the serious repercussions of insulting the holy book of Muslims and hurting the religious feelings of more than one-fourth of the world's population" He also condemned the actions as "abhorrent"92 Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani censured the US for its apparent silence on the "outrageous act of desecrating the holy Quran, urging the Muslim world to take swift action against it" He added that the "silence of those who beat the drums for freedom and democracy on the blasphemous decision has drawn the ire of freedom-seeking humans and stirred international hatred of the US" He also said the desecration of the Quran would be a "brutal" act that shows "barbarism in the modern era" While he concluded that such measures would "undoubtedly hurt spiritual and religious feelings of millions of Muslims across the world as well as followers of all divine faiths," and warned American legislators they should expect a "harsh fate" if they do not act "wisely"93 The parliament's Presiding Board member, Mohammad Dehqan, said that "Whenever Zionists want to cover up their atrocities in Palestine, they try to trigger anti-Islamic sentiments across the United States and the West to deflect global public attention from their brutalities against Palestinians" He also criticised the "Zionists" for trying to paint a violent picture of Islam to discourage others from converting to Islam; he went on to urge Muslims around the world to "remain united to stop the recurrence of similar profane moves"94 The head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of parliament, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said the "US police reluctance to react to such sacrilegious action indicates Washington's green light to such a heinous crime The US government should take serious action against the perpetrators of this provocative move and declare its stance on that regard"95 Grand Ayatollahs Hossein Noori Hamedani and Naser Makarem Shirazi favored the killing of Quran-burners, but that the permission of a religious judge was required96

In Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani cautioned people to show restraint labeling the act "expression of hatred of Islam"71

Counter protestsedit

A hacker with nickname "Iraq Resistance" posted a voice-altered video to YouTube published under the byname "iqziad", claiming to have released the "Here you have" worm to "demand respect for Islam", blaming Terry Jones, and saying "I can smash all of those infected, but I wouldn't" The worm, first discovered August 20, attacked organizations including NASA, Walt Disney, and the Florida Department of Transportation, and produced spam that rose to 10% of all email traffic on September 9979899

In South Africa, on September 10, Johannesburg businessman Mohammed Vawda had announced his own intention to burn the Bible on September 11 in the Johannesburg CBD in response to DWOC's own announcement100 However, an Islamic lawyers' association, Scholars of the Truth, quickly intervened by filing an injunction against Vawda in court on the basis of opposition against burning any religious texts,101 and Judge Sita Kolbe of the South Gauteng High Court granted the injunction, thus prohibiting Vawda's announced burning102 Lawyer and Scholars of the Truth spokesperson Yasmin Omar, who spearheaded the injunction with her husband Zahir, stated that the judge's ruling established that "freedom of expression is not unlimited if one exercises freedom of expression that is harmful to others"103

Governmental reactionsedit

 Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper, condemned the planned Quran-burning in unequivocal terms, and said, "My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that's what we want to see in this world"104

 Cuba Former president Fidel Castro called the planned book burning "a huge media show" After Jones called off the event, Castro said, "It would be nice to know what the FBI agents who visited him said 'to persuade him'"105

 France Defence minister Hervé Morin said that the threatened Quran burning and a French ban on full length Islamic veils enacted shortly afterward did not put French or NATO troops at increased risk: "when you are at the maximum, you cannot go higher"106

 Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said of the planned Florida event, "It is plainly disrespectful – even abhorrent It's simply wrong"107

 Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned in a televised speech that the plans to burn the Quran threatened world peace71

 Iran Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said "All Muslims hold the US government and their politicians accountable If the US government is sincere in its claims of not having been involved in this incident, it must mete out a befitting punishment to the main perpetrators of this serious crime"89 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the plan a "Zionist plot that is against the teachings of all divine prophets"108

 Lebanon President Michel Suleiman denounced the plans adding that burning the Quran is a clear contradiction of the teachings of the three Abrahamic religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism and of dialogue among the three faiths"109

 Pakistan's government strongly condemned the plan Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters "This is against the spirit of any religion, the government and the people of Pakistan, including Pakistani Christians, are outraged at this planned, shameful act by a self-proclaimed pastor"110

 Palestine In Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called Terry Jones a "crazy priest who reflects a crazy Western attitude toward Islam and the Muslim nation"71

 United States President Barack Obama said "I just want Jones to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan"111 He also said that the planned event was being used as an al-Qaeda recruitment tool,112 and urged that the Quran burning be cancelled because it violated US principles of religious tolerance The president also expressed frustration that under the law, nothing could be done other than citing the church under a local ordinance for public burnings112

  Vatican City The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a statement saying that the book burning would be "an outrageous and grave gesture"113

Supranational bodies

 NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, said that the church's plans would violate NATO's values and might have a negative impact on the security of its soldiers15

 Organisation of the Islamic Conference expressed deep concern and alarm at the burnings114

 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply disturbed", adding that such a gesture would be intolerable by any religion115

Media reactionsedit

Some in the media attributed the event to silly season and sensationalism116

James Poniewozik, of Time gave a few reasons for media coverage of the event: "tiny groups of fringe idiots" often get coverage, presumably because the vast majority of readers find them strange and different The event also happens to coincide with a seeming American "Islamophobia" and concern over the "Ground Zero mosque;" he also added that "This is, unfortunately, one of those cases in which, by having become news, the story is now making legitimate news" Slate's David Weigel, said reporters should "Ignore This Idiot" the title of his blog post on the controversy "Jones gets to hold the country, or at least the part of the country that pays attention to such news, hostage, with reporters getting the secretary of state and our general in Afghanistan on the record to condemn this nobody Instead of dying in obscurity, he'll die a has-been Good work" ABC News' Chris Cuomo wrote that the "media gave life to this Florida burning and that was reckless" Roger Simon, a columnist for Politico responded to David Petraeus' remarks saying "The issue is not the images; it is the acts"116

Both the Associated Press and Fox News stated their intention to ignore it116

Other media reactions

The conservative Powerline blog stated it was against the Qu'ran burning, but also said that "what gives rise to this dilemma, of course, is the fanaticism of radical Muslims, who have, indeed, responded violently to real or perceived slights to their religion" John Hinderaker, a lawyer and freelance writer, argued that "Perversely, the crazier radical Muslims behave, the more it benefits them those burning the Qurans Today it is burning Qurans, but the broader objective is to outlaw, de facto, any criticism of Islam" Another conservative writer Michelle Malkin, echoed an article by Christopher Hitchens, when she bemoaned "the eternal flame of Muslim outrage When everything from sneakers to stuffed animals to comics to frescos to beauty queens to fast-food packaging to undies serves as dry tinder for Allah's avengers, it's a grand farce to feign concern about the recruitment effect of a few burnt Qurans in the hands of a two-bit attention-seeker in Florida"

A Facebook page support the pastor's plan got more than 16,000 fans by eve of the event, while fans opposing the event numbered in the hundreds of thousands111

Actions against Dove World Outreach Centeredit

The Gainesville fire department refused to grant the church a burning permit;117 regardless, the church planned to proceed with the event despite the potential fine118 Following the July 2010 announcement of the Quran burning, the bank holding a $140,000 mortgage loan on the church property, demanded immediate repayment of the balance, and the property insurance was canceled119 A lighted sign and an acrylic cross on the property were damaged by rocks120 On September 8, 2010, Rackspace, the provider of web hosting service to the Dove World Outreach website, disconnected the site, citing a violation of their terms of use policy121 A spokesman for Rackspace told news media that the shutdown was not "a constitutional issue," it was "a contract issue" 122

The city of Gainesville has said it would charge the church $200,000, representing the cost of a security presence by the police department, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, and some city public works employees123 The Alachua County Sheriff's Office estimated that it spent $100,000 on providing security to Jones, and specifically assigned 160 of the 242 deputies on duty September 11 to police activities related to the planned burning124

Death threatsedit

Jones said that he hoped the event would not lead to violence He said that he had been receiving death threats regularly since the event was announced119 Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint Global Partners, a firm that "tracks radical militant websites," said that a suicide bomber had threatened to drive a truck into the church and others had discussed setting the building on fire, though it was not known if the discussions were serious The Wall Street Journal quoted an individual calling himself Abu Dujanah from a jihadist website, "Now, I wish to bomb myself in this church as revenge for the sake of Allah's talk And here I register my name here that I want to be an intended martyr"64

When death threats directed against Jones were mailed to The Gainesville Sun in a letter postmarked from Johnstown, Pa,125 the American Muslim Association of North America issued a statement signed by 15 imams including Ahmed Al Mehdawi of the Islamic Center of Gainesville condemning the death threats126 During Jones's September 11 visit to New York, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that police plan to keep a "close tab on him" for his own safety127

In March 2013 the al-Qaeda English-language magazine Inspire published a poster stating "Wanted dead or alive for crimes against Islam" with a prominent image of Terry Jones128

Other Quran desecration incidentsedit

Within hours of Jones's cancellation announcement on September 9, Westboro Baptist Church member Megan Roper announced via Twitter that the church would proceed with its own Quran-burning ceremony;129 Her mother said she was angry that the media had not covered WBC's 2008 Quran-burning similarly to its approach in 2010130 Phelps announced his intention to "burn the Quran and the doomed American flag at noon on September 11", subsequently doing so without incident131132

Duncan Philp of the Wyoming Tyranny Response Team obtained a permit to protest outside the Wyoming State Capitol from 11:00 to 13:00 on September 11 He expressed the intent to set a Quran on fire at noon, or, if the public burning was not permitted, to tear up the Quran and move the pieces in a garbage can to a private business to be burned Members of the local Unitarian Universalist Church planned a counter-protest133134135 Later the group described the exercise as a test of free speech and said they would take no action on state property136

In Pueblo West, a Quran was bolted to a stop sign during the weekend of September 11–12137

In Nashville, Evangelical pastor Bob Old and another preacher burned a Quran with lighter fluid in a private yard138 A group of protesters came to his house, but there were no confrontations He decided not to post the burning to YouTube139

In lower Manhattan, protesters against the "Ground Zero mosque" took some actions against the Quran138140141 The latter, who refused to identify himself, was reported to have been "escorted away to safety a few blocks away" by police after burning a few pages142 He was subsequently recognized as a New Jersey transit worker, and was fired by the agency for violating a code of conduct,143 despite being off-duty while at a protest in New York This in turn has drawn criticism from New Jersey state senator Ray Lesniak and the American Civil Liberties Union, which said a person employed in a non-policy related role cannot be fired for off-the-job political expression144

Also, in Texas, on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a group of protesters made up of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists gathered at Sam Houston Park in order to challenge the plan of evangelist David Grisham, director of a Christian activist group to burn the Quran An activist named Isom took away the Quran from Grisham and he left the park145

Alex Stewart, a research lawyer in Brisbane, Australia, purportedly rolled "joints" using pages from the Quran and the Bible and smoked them in a YouTube video The video was quickly removed from YouTube146 but many copies have since been posted and related links According to Michael Cope, president of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, "I don't think on the face of it that what he's done is an offencenor do we think it should be," referring to the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act Stewart was placed on leave from Queensland University of Technology, where he worked, by its vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake pending a review under the university's code of conduct Coaldrake said, "The university is obviously extremely, extremely unhappy and disappointed that this sort of incident should occur It may have occurred in the individual's private time or on a weekend – it doesn't matter There is always, in the community, collateral damage to these sorts of things"147 Stewart was returned to his job on September 22 after he had "apologised unreservedly" for the nature of the incident148

With mainstream media sources pledging to limit coverage of Quran burning, individuals took to YouTube A YouTube spokesperson indicated that they do not prescreen videos, and generally responded to complaints about the issue by placing warnings about offensive material149150 The Huffington Post questioned why the Quran-burning story was treated as major news, while many news outlets did not cover the prosecution of 12 soldiers for crimes including the premeditated murder of Afghan civilians, possibly for sport, and the keeping of body parts as trophies151 Keith Richburg, a journalist for the Washington Post in Beijing, said that professional journalists "act as a filter on what information should be released or left out so that it does not hurt society", and warned that digital media allows the role of media as a gatekeeper to be undermined152 American counterintelligence experts said that with no images of Quran burnings televised during the September 11 anniversary, that violent anti-American protests in Muslim countries would soon fizzle153

A Quran was found shot and burned in the driveway of the Annoor Mosque in Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville police and the FBI began investigating the incident as a possible civil rights violation, a threat, and a hate crime A YouTube video posted by a user "MuslimKnoxvilleOrg" showing the burning of a Quran stuffed with bacon and doused with lighter fluid was also being investigated, though it was not immediately connected to the mosque154155 According to Knoxville FBI Special Agent Richard L Lambert, "The fact that the burnt and shot Quran was placed on mosque property can be construed as a threat of force The issue comes down to determining what was the perpetrator's intent" Federal charges were considered, based on a 1968 law making it an offense "to use force to prevent anyone from carrying out their religious beliefs"; state charges were also considered under Tennessee civil rights law prohibiting intimidation, and misdemeanor offenses such as disorderly conduct were also explored156

In Michigan, a burned Quran was found in front of the Islamic Center of East Lansing Local police and the FBI were called in to investigate Dawud Walid, director of Michigan's Islamic council chapter said, "This is no different than someone painting a swastika on a synagogue or burning a cross on a black church"157 On September 21, the County Prosecutor said the man who turned himself in for the incident would not face charges because the act was not a crime under Michigan's criminal code156

On the north side of Chicago, Illinois, a burned Quran and a letter were found on the sidewalk outside the Muslim Community Center over the September 11–12 weekend, and were turned over to be investigated by Chicago police bomb and arson unit158159

Cancellation postponement and aftermathedit

On September 9, Jones announced the cancellation of the event, and a plan to fly to New York to meet with the Imam of Park51, Feisal Abdul Rauf30 In an interview on the morning of September 11, the day of the intended protest, he said, "We will definitely not burn the QuranNot today, not ever"127 Despite the cancellation, visiting protesters from both sides attempted to reach the rally, but a heavy police presence dominated the area A visitor from Atlanta who attempted to burn a Quran had his book and lighter seized by police120

The World Evangelical Alliance later contacted Jones, asking him to apologize for the planned Quran burning In a public statement, he refused, saying, "We will not repent for standing up for the gospel", adding that Christian churches "have lost their guts to stand up for Christianity But instead, they bow down to the political powers and the false doctrines of the nations"160

As of October 22, 2010, Jones collected a new car which was offered as a reward to Jones in a "quirky radio" ad by a New Jersey Hyundai dealership owned by former New York Giants, Brad Benson if Jones did not burn Qurans Jones said he did not learn of the reward until several weeks after canceling the burning161 Jones donated the car to charity

On January 19, 2011, it was announced that Jones had been banned from entering the United Kingdom by the British Home Secretary Theresa May Jones had been invited to give a speech for a Right-Wing group England is Ours in Milton Keynes162

2011 burning of the Quranedit

On March 20, 2011, Dove World Outreach Center held a trial which they called "International Judge the Quran Day"163 Jones played the part of a "judge", wearing traditional robes163 The Quran was placed on trial for six hours, charging it with responsibility for violence164165 At the end of the "trial" the jury found the Quran guilty of all charges and "sentenced" to burning166 Pastor Wayne Sapp then "executed" the Quran by burning it167

Jones sought a permit in April 2011 to hold a rally at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan A jury sided with prosecutors, ruling that Jones and Sapp would breach the peace Judge Mark Somers set the bond for each man at $1, which they refused to pay Somers remanded them to jail Jones was barred from the area of the mosque for three years168

On November 11, 2011, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Ziolkowski vacated the “breach of peace” ruling against Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp on the grounds that they were denied due process Both men’s criminal records have since been expunged169


See also: 2011 Mazar-i-Sharif attack

On March 24 Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, publicly condemned the act Some diplomats believed that most Afghans learned of the incident through Karzai's announcement170 On April 2, crowds chanted "Death to Karzai!" as well as "Death to America!"171 After a sermon on April 1 in the city's main mosque, at least 12 people were killed by angry demonstrators in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan,171172 including five Nepalese security guards and three other members of staff working for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan UNAMA173 Jones denied responsibility174175 Pajhwok Afghan News reported that the dead included Norwegian, Romanian and Swedish nationals, two of them decapitated176 BBC quoted police general, Abdul Rafu Taj, as saying that "according to the initial reports none were beheaded", and that they were shot in the head177 Up to 2,000 protesters took to the streets on April 2 in Kandahar, chanting anti-US slogans The protesters burned several vehicles and hurled stones at police who were trying to control the mob They also torched a girls' high school and burned down a school bus in the centre of the city Security forces killed nine protesters and injured 73178 Smaller protests occurred in other cities179

The Gambian government has called for the arrest of Terry Jones Ebrima O Camara, the secretary general and head of the civil service, described the burning as "heinous" and asked for prosecution to proceed "as soon as possible"180

An affiliate website of Iran's Revolution Guard Cyber Defense Command181 quoted182 a report by the newspaper Vatan-e Emrooz that claimed Iranian border patrols were burning copies of "smuggled" Bibles in Iran183 On March 25, 2011, the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, condemned the burning and called for Jones's prosecution184

In southern Lebanon, students protested peacefully with Shia sheikh Hassan al-Zayyat outside the Lebanese International University to construct the largest Quran on Earth, weighing 100 kg185 Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah has put a $24 million bounty on the head of pastor Terry Jones, according to the FBI186

On March 22, 2011, Pakistanis protested in the Punjab Christian neighborhoods and burned tires in front of a church187 On March 22, 2011, Amir Hamza, the leader of Pakistan's banned Islamic organization Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, issued a $22 million fatwā for anyone who kills pastor Terry Jones188189 On March 25, 2011, protests erupted in Pakistan, where the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam organized province-wide protests, including a road blockage and burnings of effigies and American flags in the province of Sindh190 A man desecrated the Bible at the gates of Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church in Lahore to "avenge" Jones’ desecration of the Quran in Florida;191 he was arrested by Pakistani police The President of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference, His Excellency, Lawrence Saldanha, who currently serves as the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore, called for the arrest of Jones Saldanha said Jones' burning of the Qu'ran has caused scandal and fury in the Muslim world and the deaths of more than 20 people Archbishop Saldanha said the US government should detain Jones192

A South African Islamic organization called Scholars for Truth turned to the country's courts to prevent a fellow-Muslim from burning Bibles in retaliation to threats by Jones to burn the Quran193

United States President Barack Obama strongly condemned both the Quran burning, calling it an act of "extreme intolerance and bigotry", and the "outrageous" attacks by protesters, referring to them as "an affront to human decency and dignity" "No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act"194 US legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also condemned both the burning and the subsequent violence 195 Gen David Petraeus said, "This was a surprise,"171 and "That action was hateful; it was intolerant"196

On 4 April 2011 two US soldiers were shot and killed by an Afghan policeman in an attack that was attributed to his anger over the burning of the Koran The attacker was later killed in a shootout with NATO troops The attacker has been called a hero and a martyr by some of the local community, with his grave becoming an unofficial shrine, and local mosques being named after him7 However, at least one local cleric has stated that the attack could not be justified on religious grounds197

See alsoedit

  • Florida portal
  • Islam portal
  • 2008 Eucharist incident
  • 2012 Afghanistan Quran burning protests
  • Book burning
  • Criticism of Islam
  • Freedom of speech in the United States
  • Islamophobia
  • Koran desecration controversy of 2005
  • Pfefferkorn controversy, a 16th-century plot to seize and burn copies of the Talmud from Jews


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  165. ^ "Quran burned after Fla church "trial"" CBS News March 22, 2011 Retrieved April 2, 2011 
  166. ^ Held, Kevin; Adelle M Banks March 22, 2011 "Pastor Terry Jones oversees Quran burning outside Florida church" ksdkcom Archived from the original on September 3, 2012 Retrieved April 2, 2011 
  167. ^ Barclay, Joey March 23, 2011 "Holy Quran Burning By Terry Jones Creates Tensions All over the Muslim World" Newsies Retrieved April 2, 2011 
  168. ^ Niraj Warikoo Terry Jones goes free on $1 bond after jailing; judge bars him from mosque for 3 years, Detroit Free Press, April 22, 2011
  169. ^ Jeff T Wattrick November 11, 2011 "Judge vacates 'breach of peace' judgement against Terry Jones" MLivecom Retrieved September 2, 2013 
  170. ^ Trofimov, Yaroslav April 26, 2011 Petraeus Says Quran Burning Endangers War Effort - WSJcom Onlinewsjcom Retrieved April 30, 2011
  171. ^ a b c Petraeus Says Quran Burning Endangers War Effort, Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2011
  172. ^ "UN Staff Killed During Afghan Protest" Voice of America April 1, 2011 Retrieved April 1, 2011 
  173. ^ UN staff killed during protest in northern Afghanistan, BBC News, April 1, 2011
  174. ^ Pastor Terry Jones: 'We are not responsible', BBC News, April 1, 2011
  175. ^ UN staff killed in Afghanistan amid protests over Quran burning, Jon Boone in Kabul, The Guardian, April 1, 2011
  176. ^ "10 UN workers killed, beheaded in Mazar attack" Pajhwok Afghan News April 1, 2011 Retrieved April 1, 2011 
  177. ^ "Afghanistan: Deadly Kandahar protest at Quran burning" BBC News April 2, 2011 
  178. ^ "9 killed, 73 injured in Quran protest in Kandahar" Archived April 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Monsters and Critics April 2, 2011 Retrieved April 30, 2011
  179. ^ Associated, The April 30, 2011 Quran-Burning Protests Rage In Afghanistan NPR Retrieved April 30, 2011
  180. ^ "Gambia: Terry Jones Should Be Prosecuted Says Gambia Gov't, As It Condemns Qur'an Burning", allAfricacom April 13, 2011 Retrieved April 30, 2011
  181. ^ "معرفي مركز بررسي جرائم سازمان يافته" Gerdabir Retrieved September 15, 2012 
  182. ^ "توزيع گسترده انجيل و تورات در کشور" Gerdabir Retrieved September 15, 2012 
  183. ^ Vatan-e Emrooz pp3 of Volume 434
    وطن امروز/شماره 434/صفحه3
  184. ^ "Iran calls for trial of Quran burners" Press TV March 25, 2011 
  185. ^ "Lebanese students slam desecration of Qur'an", Presstvir April 19, 2011 Retrieved April 30, 2011
  186. ^ Mann, Camille April 4, 2011 "Pastor Terry Jones receiving death threats after Quran burning", CBS News Retrieved April 30, 2011
  187. ^ "Christians in fear after Qur'an burning" Union of Catholic Asian News March 24, 2011 permanent dead link
  188. ^ "US pastor supervises Quran burning, sparks outrage in Pak" Times Of India Washington/Islamabad March 22, 2011 Retrieved April 2, 2011 
  189. ^ "JuD announces Rs 10 crore for killing US pastor over Quran burning" PTI March 22, 2011 
  190. ^ Shamim Bano March 25, 2011 "Religious parties protest desecration of Quran" The News International 
  191. ^ "Muslim Desecrates Bible in Pakistan to 'Avenge' Quran Burning" Christianpostcom April 9, 2011 Retrieved September 15, 2012 
  192. ^ Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, April 4, 2011
  193. ^ Delia Robertson "Muslim Community Seeks to Prevent Bible Burning in South Africa" Voanewscom Retrieved September 15, 2012 
  194. ^ Obama condemns Quran burning ‘bigotry’ Archived April 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Dawn, April 3, 2011
  195. ^ US Legislators Condemn Quran Burning, Violent Reaction, Voice of America, April 3, 2011
  196. ^ Vargas, Elizabeth April 4, 2011 "Terry Jones Receives Death Threats" ABC News Gainesville 
  197. ^ "The Afghan 'green-on-blue' attacker seen as a hero" BBC News March 29, 2013 But some are concerned about the way in which a man who killed two allied soldiers could become a hero and martyr overnight Abdul Momen Makrit, a local cleric, says that there is no religious justification for an attack on soldiers who came to assist the country 

External linksedit

  • Muslim Community Organizes Vigils, Teach-Ins to Counter Planned Quran Burning – video report by Democracy Now!, September 8, 2010
Terry Jones
  • Stand Up America Terry Jones's political group
  • Braveheart Show's channel on YouTube Terry Jones
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Terry Jones collected news and commentary at Al Jazeera English
  • "Pastor Terry Jones collected news and commentary" The Guardian 
  • "Terry Jones pastor collected news and commentary" The New York Times 
  • Local Texan Jacob Isom Who Rescued a Qu'ran From Terry Jones

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