The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville has been stirring up controversy in recent days, with the announcement of two upcoming events: a “No Homo Mayor Protest” on Aug. 2, focusing on the city’s first openly gay mayor, Craig Lowe, and the “International Burn a Koran Day,” slated for the anniversary of 9/11.
Dove World pastor Terry Jones, author of the recently released book Islam Is of the Devil, insists that the Bible is the world’s only legitimate religious text and is asking his followers to “stand against the evils of Islam” on Sept. 11.
From Jones’ YouTube “Braveheart Show”:
There is no such thing as moderate Islam. There is no such thing as peaceful Islam. There are moderate or peaceful Muslims, but there is no peaceful Islam or moderate Islam, because you cannot separate Islam from Islamic Law, and Islamic law calls for violence, jihad, war, hates Israel, hates Christians. So there is no such thing as the “good ol’ Islam down the road.” Their desire is to rule, reign, take over.
Jones also calls for halting all Muslim immigration to the U.S. and a ban on the construction of new mosques.
The Religion News Service reported that in response to the self-described “New Testament, Charismatic, Non-Denominational Church” posting of the event on Facebook a little more than a week ago, people have been mailing Korans to the church to burn. Jones said organizers got the idea, in part, from another Facebook page, called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on Muslims to counter the planned holy book burning with “Share the Koran” dinners geared towards educating the public during the month-long fast of Ramadan beginning in August.
Sept. 11 will fall during the Eid al-Fitr holiday this year, when Muslims mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Local Muslims are planning to use the feast as an opportunity to share Islamic traditions and Qurans with the church members and the wider community.
“We don’t want to do anything that would be reactive,” said Ramzy Kilic, communications director of the Tampa Chapter of CAIR.
On May 10, a pipe bomb exploded in the Islamic Center of Northwest Florida in Jacksonville. No worshippers were hurt, but Kilic said the planned burning of Qurans could escalate tensions in the area.
“American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. He said CAIR’s research shows that anti-Muslim bias decreases when people have access to accurate information about Islam and are able to connect on a personal level with ordinary Muslims.