Published on September 10th, 2010 | by Nitaisundara6
The Burning Question
By Yobie Benjamin
On and off and on again… maybe! Burn, no burn, maybe burn.
Burn-a-Quran zealot Pastor Terry Jones has issued a statement that he has only suspended his decision to burn Qurans. Jones backed off his promise to burn Qurans on 9/11 and then threatened to reconsider burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, angrily accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him Thursday with a promise to move the Park51 mosque away from New York’s ground zero. The imam planning the center denied there was ever such a deal.
The reports are saying that Jones offered to stop the burning of Qurans if Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf owner of the Park51 mosque would agree to move the mosque from its current planned location near ground zero to another place farther away. The agreement was supposedly brokered by Florida Muslim leader Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida.
On Thursday evening, Terry Jones emerged from his church in Gainesville, Fla., with Florida Imam Muhammad al-Masri to announce his decision to cancel his Koran burning, saying he had a supposed deal as “a sign from God.” The erratic pastor said that Imam Abdel Rauf, the leader behind the Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan, will meet with him in New York on Saturday. Jones said he relented when Musri assured him that the New York mosque will be moved in exchange for stopping the Koran burning.
“He has agreed to move it,” Jones said referring to the Park51 mosque. “And we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. Americans don’t want the mosque there and of course Muslims don’t want us to burn Korans,” said Jones. Musri, however, said after the news conference that the agreement was only for him and Jones to travel to New York and meet Saturday with the imam overseeing plans to build a mosque near ground zero.
Hours after the seemingly collegial joint Musri/Jones press conference, Jones angrily said Musri “clearly, clearly lied to us.”
“Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision,” Jones said. “So as of right now, we are not canceling the event, but we are suspending it.”
Jones did not say whether the Quran burning will happen on Sept 11, 2010. Jones said he expected Musri to keep his word and expected “the imam in New York to back up one of his own men.”
There is confusion though because Imam Rauf said there was no such deal. “I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Korans,” Rauf said. “However, I have not spoken with Pastor Jones or Imam Musri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we here to barter. We are here to extend our hand to build peace and harmony,” Rauf said.
The developer of the property also denied there was any deal. “The Muslim Community Center called Park51 in Lower Manhattan is not being moved,” read a statement from SoHo Properties, the developer of the community center that is being called the Ground Zero Mosque.
After Jones accused him of lying, Musri said the pastor “stretched my words” at the press conference. Musri added, “I think there was no confusion to begin with. When we stepped out of the church, we had an agreement to meet in New York. Jones said his main reason for stopping the event was that it would endanger the troops overseas, Americans traveling abroad and others around the world.”
Let’s just hope that Jones comes to his senses as the entire world pleads with him not to burn Islam’s holy book.