On September 11, 2010, the extremist evangelical Dove World Church — whose pastor, Terry Jones, has written a book called “Islam Is Of The Devil” — plans to host “International Burn A Quran Day,” when it will burn Muslims’ sacred text and encourage others across the world to do so as well. Churchmember Wayne Sapp has even posted an instructional video that explains how and why to burn the Islamic text.
CNN host Rick Sanchez invited Jones on his show yesterday to ask him about the inflammatory action. When Sanchez pressed Jones about why he would try to anger the world’s Muslims by burning their sacred text, the evangelical pastor replied, “Well, for one thing, to us, the book is not sacred,” provoking laughter from the CNN host.
Jones later went on to explain, “What we are also doing by the burning of the Quran, we’re saying stop, stop to Islam, stop to Islamic law, stop to brutality. We have nothing against Muslims, they are welcome in our country.” When Sanchez asked him how he would feel if Muslims burned the Bible, Jones admitted he wouldn’t like it but emphasized that it was his “right” to burn the Islamic text because “we live in America”:
SANCHEZ: Do you know how many Muslims there are in the world?
JONES: I think there are 1.5 billion.
SANCHEZ: Yeah. I ask you that because that’s a very big number. Why would you want to do this to 1.5 billion people by burning their most sacred book? That’s crazy.
JONES: Well, for one thing, to us, the book is not sacred.
SANCHEZ: But it is to them, it’s sacred to them. [...]
JONES: What we’re also doing by the burning of the Quran on 9/11 is we’re saying stop. Stop to Islam. Stop to Islamic law. Stop to brutality. We have nothing against Muslims, they are welcome in our country. [...]
SANCHEZ: How would you feel if a Muslim said to you, what you just said to them? I have no problem with you Mr. Christian, you’re welcome in my country, but I’m burning your Bible.
JONES: I would not like it. But it’s our right. We live in America!
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the nation’s largest body of evangelicals, put out a statement yesterday condemning Dove World’s actions. Quoting Thessalonians, NAE President Leith Anderson invoked the Bible’s teachings that Christians should “always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”
The Dove World Church has made a name for itself by engaging in a host of attention-seeking tactics to preach their hate. In the past, the congregation compelled children to wear t-shirts that bore the slogan “Islam is of the devil.” Earlier this year, they held an unsuccessful campaign to stop the election of Gainesville’s first openly gay mayor by posting a “No homo mayor” sign. Despite their failure to stop the mayor’s election, they plan to hold a protest on the steps of City Hall in August.