Quran Burning Off – Park51 Controversy Back On
Well, it seems that the Quran burning crisis might be over. Terry Jones, leader of the Dove World Outreach church in Florida, has backed off of his threat to toss copies of the Muslim holy book into a bonfire. Instead, he will allegedly be spending the anniversary of the September 11th attacks in New York, trying to convince the Park51 Imam to move the proposed Muslim Community Center.
CNN has this story’s bizarre turn:
A Florida pastor Thursday called off his controversial plan to burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
The Rev. Terry Jones of the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center, standing with a Florida Muslim leader, also said the imam who planned a mosque and Islamic center near ground zero in New York has agreed to move it to another location. But the imam who appeared with him said that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in New York agreed to speak with Jones about possibly moving the center.
A spokesman from Soho Properties told CNN producer Vivienne Foley that “the Muslim community center called Park51 in lower Manhattan is not being moved.”
Jones, meanwhile, said he will travel to New York on Saturday to meet with Rauf.
There’s only one small problem. Jones believes that he was promised that Park51 will be moved, and that if it isn’t, well, once again the entirety of the religion of Islam is once more to blame.
Via the Associated Press:
Jones said Imam Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Society of Central Florida told him that officials would guarantee that the mosque would be moved.
“I asked him three times, and I have witnesses,” Jones said. “If it’s not moved, then I think Islam is a very poor example of religion. I think that would be very pitiful. I do not expect that.”
Musri thanked Jones and his church members “for making the decision today to defuse the situation and bring to a positive end what has become the world over a spectacle that no one would benefit from except extremists and terrorists” who would use it to recruit future radicals.
But Jones is very clear about one thing now, at least. If he’s not going to be burning Qurans, no one else should be doing it, either. The Washington Post reports:
“We are, of course, now against any other group burning Qurans,” Jones said during a news conference. We would right now ask no one to burn Qurans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it.”
Someone better be sure that message gets to Fred Phelp’s church before he decides to try that stunt again.