According to Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, Jesus would have burned the Quran. He made the statement during an interview on ABC’s “Nightline” Tuesday night, emphasizing that he knows that the burning of qurans is a “radical” act but that is what he wishes to convey. He wants to send a message to radical Islam and he wants others to begin standing up and defending the world against it. He says that is what Jesus would have done.
“Jesus would not run around burning books,” Jones said, “but I think he would burn this one.”
Pastor Terry Jones and his small congregation at the Dove World Outreach Center announced their plans to burn qurans on “International Burn A Quran Day,” otherwise known to the rest of the world as September 11, as a commemorative act to honor the dead of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although they made their announcement in July, the story caught hold at the end of August and, as September 11 began drawing nearer, reaction to the scheduled quran burning began to increase, seemingly exponentially. In recent days, rallies and protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, and Indonesia have made headlines, prompting Interpol to issue global alert to its 188 member nations to be wary of terrorist activity. World leaders, from Tony Blair and President Barack Obama to the Vatican, have voiced their disapproval of the planned act. Opposition has come from religious leaders and celebrities as well, and General David Petraeus cautioned that such an act might incite the offended to harm Americans and others, not to mention American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jones was adamant, telling the Associated Press that it was time that someone stood up to radical Islam.
Pastor Terry Jones preaches that Islam is a violent religion. On a YouTube series entitled “The Braveheart Show,” Jones made clear that there was “no such thing as moderate Islam.” He posited the religion was not moderate, “because you cannot separate Islam from Islamic Law, and Islamic Law calls for violence, jihad, war, hates Israel, hates Christians.”
He went on to add that it was the desire of those of the Islamic faith to “rule, reign, take over.” He said, “They are only coming to this country to take over, to try to enforce, through population growth, through political means, through educational means, to enforce and force their laws, their Islamic laws, upon us. In Europe, they have already done it.”
The pastor of Dove World Outreach Center says he wants to send a “radical message” to radical Islam, that there are those willing to stand up against the violence.
He recently published a book, entitled Islam Is Of The Devil. The book is available online and at his church in Gainesville, Florida. Mugs and t-shirts with the title can also be purchased. Three succeeding signs stand out front of the Dove World Outreach Center proclaiming “Islam Is Of The Devil.”
The small church of around 50 members made headlines last year when children of members of the congregation went to school wearing the t-shirts. School officials
But would Jesus really have been a book-burner? Although somewhat of a radical, it is a commonly held belief that Jesus believed in a new interpretation of the old Mosaic laws. And he didn’t have a problem tossing around the tables of the moneylenders in the temple, a house of worship, when he believed they were engaged in an act of desecration.
But burn a venerated holy book?
Florida Imam Muhammad Musri, who has talked with Terry Jones about the planned quran burnings in hopes of getting him to desist, believes that Jones is “sincere but misguided,” according to Bloomberg. He said, “I asked him, what would Jesus do in your position today? Would he love his neighbor? If we are your enemies, you are supposed to love your enemies. I think that resonated a bit.”
It resonated in the form of a trade-off. At 5:00 p.m. Thursday, Pastor Terry Jones announced that he was canceling the quran burning scheduled for Saturday, September 11. He said he took it as a sign from god that the group responsible for erecting a Muslim community center/mosque had agreed to relocate the controversial structure in return for his not burning qurans.
But it only resonated for a few hours. The Imam Feizal Abdul Raul, who has been the chief spokesman for the Ground Zero Mosque project, publicly stated that he was not aware of an agreement. Jones’ response was to tell reporters that he had been lied to, so he was forced to reconsider holding the quran burning at Dove World Outreach Center.
Imam Musri later said Pastor Jones must have misunderstood. He said he never spoke of an agreement being reached but had said that he had made arrangements for a meeting with the New York group.
Pastor Terry Jones now plans to travel to New York to see if he can persuade the real estate group to alter their plans to build the Ground Zero Mosque. At present, the quran burning seems to be in permanent suspension.
So… in the given circumstances, what would Jesus do now?
“Nightline,” ABC Television