Pastor Terry Jones of the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center, announced at a press conference that he is canceling his church’s planned Koran-burning scheduled for the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in exchange for the “Ground Zero Mosque” being moved away from the vicinity of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers that were destroyed on 9/11/01. He claimed that on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, he would be flying to New York City to meet the Imam of the proposed Ground Zero Mosque to talk about their deal.
The Koran (or Qu’ran) is the “Bible” of Islam, the religion’s central text. The planned burning of Islam’s holy scripture had invoked outrage at home and abroad. The panned Koran-burning had been denounced by President Barack Obama, who termed it a “stunt” to generate publicity by Paston Jones. Obama and others in his administration were worried that the provocative act would inflame anti-American sentiment and cause attacks on Americans. They were particularly worried the Koran-burning would put American troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries in harm’s way.
The situation was considered so serious that Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates personally called Pastor Jones and asked him to suspend the proposed Koran-burning.
At the press conference, Pastor Jones said he and his congregation had been praying and waiting for a sign from God. Joined by Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida (Orlando). Jones told the press that in exchange for his canceling the Koran-burning, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will not build his controversial Ground Zero Mosque so close to the World Trade Center site.
This deal was the sign from God that Pastor Jones had been looking for, as the American people don’t want the mosque at Ground Zero in New York City and Muslims don’t want the Koran-burning, he explained. Imam Musri said that the Ground Zero mosque (which actually is a Muslim education center that includes a mosque and is planned at a location two-and-one-half blocks the site of the destroyed World Trade Center) is highly controversial and has caused anti-Muslim sentiment, just as Pastor Terry Woods proposed Koran-burning has caused anti-American sentiment. He said he would be flying to New York with Pastor Woods to meet Imam Rauf to discuss moving the Muslim education center.