A church in Gainsville, Florida has commissioned a “Burn a Qu’ran Day,” evoking the wrath of a mass contingent of Evangelicals, Jews and of course, Muslims. Planned for the ninth anniversary of 9/11, outrage has been expressed and courses of action contemplated.
The non-denominational church, Dove World Outreach Center, is known for its extreme activism and no-holds-barred statements against homosexuality and Islam. Located in Gainsville, Florida, this church body recently promoted a rally called “No Homo for Mayor.” This latest tactic against Islam is along the same radical lines.
Come one and all, DWOC advertised, to burn a Qu’ran “in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!” states their website. Also listed are “Ten Reasons to burn a Koran” that include statements like the Koran teaches Jesus Christ is not the resurrected Son of God and “The Koran’s teaching includes Arabian idolatry, paganism, rites and rituals.”
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) represents a group of Christian believers who vehemently oppose this kind of activism. The ChristianPost.com quoted Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland, A Church Distributed and an NAE Board of Directors as saying, “We have to recognize that fighting fire with fire only builds a bigger fire. Love is the water that will eventually quench the destruction.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, condemned the 9/11 burning. “Sept. 11 should be a day for prayers for the 9/11 victims and their families and redoubling our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and all other terrorists bent on our nation’s destruction,” noted a statement by associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, and Interfaith Director Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein.
Muslim reaction varied. Council for American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group with controversial ties, has responded to burning a Koran with their own “Share the Qu’ran Day.” Ramadan, a month-long Islamic fast, begins in August. Dinners will be hosted to break the fast and distribute copies of the Koran to citizens, government officials and journalists. According to the TimesofIndia.com, the Muslim group, Al-Falluja jihadist forum, have threatened to “spill rivers of your (American) blood” and “a war the likes of which you have never seen before” if DWOE goes through with their plans.
The NAE compared burning Korans to burning Bibles; burning of a holy text for either religion is “highly offensive” and contentious. Leith Anderson, President of NAE, believes ‘Burn a Koran Day’ is rooted in revenge which goes against Biblical teaching. Anderson urged DWOC to call off the day “in the name and love of Jesus.”
“Christians are commanded to ‘love because he first loved us.’ Religious freedom is the essence of America—the responsibility to respectfully live with our deepest differences. The proposed burning of the Qu’ran … violates both our Christian and American identities,” remarked Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement.