Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, talked with Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball” about the growing controversy surrounding the religious leader’s intended “message” to radical Islam — the burning of the quran on what his church has dubbed “International Burn A Quran Day,” September 11. It was evident from the beginning that Matthews had little patience with Jones and his purported “message.” After asking him a few basic questions, Matthews zeroed in on finding a way to get the Pastor and his congregation not to go through with the burning of qurans. He found that Terry Jones, a man of religious conviction, could play hardball as well.
Matthews asked if there was anyone in America that Jones respected. Pastor Terry Jones answered that he looked up to former president George W. Bush. But when the host of “Hardball” asked if he were to receive a call from the former president, would he stop the scheduled quran burning, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center told him he would not.
“That would not change our plans, no,” Jones said. When Chris Matthews asked, “Why not?”, the Pastor said, “We have declared September the 11th ‘International Burn a Quran Day’ because we want to send a very clear message.” He added, “It is indeed a radical message but a very clear, radical message to Muslims, to Sharia law, that that is not welcome in America.”
Dove World Outreach Center has conducted some type of Sept. 11 commemorative event every year since the tragedy took place. This year, Pastor Terry Jones and other organizers took inspiration from the Facebook page “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” for the quran-burning ceremony.
Adverse reaction to Jones and Dove World Outreach Center’s “radical message” has been steadily increasing over the past month. The city of Gainesville, where the non-denominational church is located, has refused to grant the church a burn permit for their commemorative event. General David Petraeus, commander of American troops in Afghanistan, condemned the quran burning, noting that it could have devastating effects on others, especially American troops already in harm’s way in Muslim countries. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama have condemned the church’s scheduled act as well. Even the Vatican has weighed in, condemning the inflammatory act.
Public outrage has grown as well. Most are calling up the Dove World Outreach Center and its members to not go through with the burning of the qurans. Some are planning to protest outside the church itself. Some have planned protests and rallies in response. Still others have directly threatened mortal harm to the Pastor and his congregation if they insist on burning the holy book.
However, Pastor Terry Jones and his congregants are protected in their venture by the First Amendment. Although the small church has faced considerable worldwide criticism and condemnation from public figures, world leaders, and religious counterparts, not to mention seen their coming “message” pre-empted by protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, and Indonesia, they still intend to set fire to qurans on Sept. 11.
In the face of such determination, Chris Matthews — and even former president George W. Bush — never stood a chance at dissuading Pastor Terry Jones.
Chris Matthews interview with Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center follows.
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“Hardball with Chris Matthews,” MSNBC Television