Florida Pastor Still Wants Meeting on New York Islamic Center

By Dan Hart and Chris Dolmetsch -Bloomberg News

The Florida pastor who planned to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks yesterday said he won’t “ever” burn Islam’s holy book.

Terry Jones, who arrived in New York City on Sept. 10, is still seeking a meeting with ImamFeisal Abdul Rauf, who plans to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site. The pastor said in an interview on NBC’s “Today Show” that no meeting has been scheduled.

“We feel that God is telling us to stop,” Jones said yesterday. “And we also hope that with us making this first gesture, not burning the Koran, to say, ‘No, we’re not going to do it, not today, not ever, we’re not going to go back and do it, it is totally canceled.’

“We hope that through that maybe that will open up a door to be able to talk to the imam about the Ground Zero mosque.”

Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, said on “Today” that the goal of his protest had been accomplished and it wasn’t a publicity stunt.

“We feel that whenever we started this out one of our reasons was to show, to expose that there is an element of Islam that is very dangerous and very radical,” Jones said. “I believe that we have definitely accomplished that mission.”

He said he “can absolutely guarantee” there will be no Koran burning at his church, even if the Islamic center near Ground Zero is built. Jones, who has acknowledged receiving more than 100 death threats, said he “wasn’t scared into calling off the burning.”

Protest

President Barack Obama urged Jones to cancel the planned event, which sparked protests from Muslims around the world. Defense Secretary Robert Gates telephoned the pastor on Sept. 9 to ask him to call off the burning.

To read more, visit: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-12/pastor-jones-says-he-won-t-ever-burn-koran-even-if-islamic-center-built.html

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