US pastor agrees ‘in principle’ not to burn Quran

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Saturday, September 11, 2010

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - After a day of flip-flops, a Florida pastor, who earned international headlines and censure after threatening to burn copies of the Quran on the 9/11 anniversary Saturday, “has agreed in principle” not to go ahead with the controversial event.

Pastor Terry Jones arrived in New York City late Friday night apparently for a still unscheduled meeting with the imam in charge of the New York Islamic center planned near ground zero site of the Sep 11, 2001 attacks.

“I don’t have anything to say right now,” he told a group of reporters who followed him out of LaGuardia Airport and to a taxi cab, according to CNN.

CNN also cited K.A. Paul, an evangelist in contact with Jones, as saying that there will be no burning of the book Saturday evening as had been originally planned.

Earlier Friday, Jones gave mixed messages about whether he intends to carry out his plans, which have sparked international controversy.

Jones told CBS’ “The Early Show” that “we have called the event off”. Soon afterwards, however, he told reporters in Florida the burning is still being contemplated.

Jones also said a promised meeting with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was part of what convinced him to halt the planned burning.

Jones said the meeting was promised Thursday by local Florida Imam Mohammad Musri, who also told him the Islamic centre would be moved in exchange for the burning being called off.

Musri said that a meeting may happen next week between Jones and Rauf as it might be difficult for the parties to meet Saturday because of events planned to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11.

Musri said he envisions a meeting Monday or Tuesday involving Jones, Rauf and himself. “If we’re successful to do it tomorrow, (that) will be wonderful,” Musri was quoted as saying. If not, he said, they could meet Monday, Tuesday or “as soon as all three parties can find the time to get together”.

In a statement Friday, Rauf said that he was “prepared to consider meeting with anyone who is seriously committed to pursuing peace” but that no such meeting had been set up.

“Our plans for the community centre have not changed,” he said. “With the solemn day of September 11 upon us, I encourage everyone to take time for prayer and reflection.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

Filed under: Religion

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