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article imageUS church defiant in plans to burn Koran

By Lynn Herrmann     Sep 8, 2010 in World
Gainesville - A small church in Florida remains defiant despite international condemnation over its plans to burn hundreds of copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Despite warnings from top military leaders and words of caution from national politicians and religious principals, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center (DWOC), based in Gainesville, Florida, says he is adamant about plans to burn copies of the Koran, saying: “We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam.”
While debate rages on over a proposed Islamic cultural center several blocks from New York’s ground zero site, DWOC’s moves are seen by some as adding fuel to the fire.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a State Department dinner noting the Muslim holy month of Ramaden, denounced Jones.
"I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths," she said in a BBC report.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has gone a step further, calling DWOC’s plans “idiotic and dangerous.”
In reference to DWOC’s planned desecration, Gen. David Patreus, top US commander in the Af-Pak conflict, released a statement on Monday, saying: “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems.”
In addition to his role as leader of DWOC, Jones is also the author of Islam is of The Devil. He calls his book “one of the most important books of our times,” noting Islam is a religion of “violence” and “oppression”.
Regarding the Gainesville city council’s denial of a burn permit for what DWOC considers its “1st Ammendment Right,” Jones released a statement to the media that said: “We are not surprised. It is a typical example of how government bows to pressure. We met with the Fire Marshal and agreed to all their stipulations. There was no legal reason to turn us down. It was strictly a political move. We will on 9/11 still burn Korans,” according to the DWOC website.
A blog on the church’s website titled Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran, notes the planned burning is “neither an act of love nor of hate.” It then adds the act will be a warning “about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.”
Jones’ DWOC has found itself in the middle of a mostly self-created international firestorm, despite having a congregation of just 50. His plans have caused demonstrations in Afghanistan and Indonesia.
In addition to the Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran, DWOC posted 5 More Reasons to Burn the Koran to its site on Tuesday. It’s disclaimer at the end of that blog notes any violence attributed to DWOC’s planned desecration is not of its doing. “Let's just make one thing clear. A small church, in a small town, down a back road, burning copies of its own books, on its own property, is not responsible for the violent actions anyone may take in retaliation to our protest. Remember, Paul did not make the snake, the fire drove it out and he was bitten. If violence happens in reaction to this, the violence was not caused by us, it has just been exposed.”
The website notes that under the leadership of Jones, the church’s “vision continues to mature and expand.”
More about Koran burning, Terry Jones, Dove world outreach center
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