Qur'an row smoulders on as Jones withdraws burning threat

By staff writers
September 13, 2010

The pastor at the centre of the Qur'an burning row in Florida has withdrawn his threat to the burn the Muslim holy book, but the row continues.

Over the weekend two people died in continuing protests in Afghanistan, demonstrators rallied in Indian Kashmir and in parts of the the USA and Europe.

Meanwhile, six Christian extremists ripped pages from the Qur'an and an atheist lawyer from Queensland in Australia destroyed and 'smoked' a Bible and a Qur'an.

But reactions were far less intense than had been feared had Gainesville pastor Terry Jones and his small Florida church had gone ahead with their 'Burn A Koran Day' threats on 11 September, the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre twin towers in New York.

Pastor Jones backed down after an international outcry, and after fellow ministers explained to him the true ramifications of his protest - which he said on Sunday was about "extreme radical Islam", softening his rhetoric.

It is unclear whether he will meet the imam responsible for plans for an Islamic cultural centre near to Ground Zero, part of a plan to build understanding between people of different faiths and none which has been used by hard-line groups to stir up hatred and resentment.

Local residents near the so-called Dove International Centre still held a vigil outside the church, with banners reading 'Hey Terry, Stop Hatin!'

Christians across the world denounced the Qur'an burning threat. The World Evangelical Alliance, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Vatican were among those speaking out against confrontation.

The Massachusetts Bible Society had said that it would give away two copies of the Muslim holy book for every one destroyed, in order to demonstrate the Christian and Jewish biblical mandate to love your neighbour.

Albert Meyer, a Gainesville resident who was on the concourse level of the Twin Towers when the first plane struck the building nine years ago, told a group of college students gathered at a park near Jones' church on 11 September that he was able to escape to safety within minutes, but felt it was his duty to speak out against acts of hatred on behalf of those who died.

We're here today because we want the world to know that Terry Jones does not represent us here in Gainesville or in America," he declared. "This is not what we're about."


Keywords:Qur'an | Koran
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