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Florida pastor unclear about Quran burning

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The Rev. Terry Jones faces reporters' questions Friday at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida

By the CNN Wire Staff

Gainesville, Florida (CNN) — The pastor at a Florida church that planned to burn copies of the Quran added to the confusion Friday over whether he intends to go ahead with the controversial event.

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

“We are seriously, seriously, seriously considering not burning the Qurans. That is absolutely right,” Jones said.

Challenged by a reporter, Jones then said, “Well, we are hoping that we can come to a conclusion.”

“Are you or aren’t you?” a reporter asked, to which Jones replied, “We’re actually not prepared to answer that right now.”

Jones also said he is scheduled to travel to New York on Friday night for a still unscheduled meeting with the imam in charge of the Islamic center planned near ground zero. The meeting, Jones had said, 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 center would be moved in exchange for the burning being called off.

Musri said Friday that he made no such promise, and both Musri and the imam in charge of the center, Feisal Abdul Rauf, said there was no agreement on a meeting or relocation of the center.

No deal made to halt Quran burning, Muslim leader says

Asked who is telling the truth about what Musri may or may not have promised, the imam told CNN on Friday, “Of course, I am.”

“I made it very clear to him: I have no control over the project in New York,” Musri said. “I am just a mediator here. I promised to set up the meeting and take him along, pay for it, but no guarantee that I can move that mosque. It’s not my decision.”

Musri said Jones “stretched it and exaggerated” the outcome of their Thursday meeting once he went before the cameras, telling reporters that Musri promised the meeting in New York and that the Islamic center would be moved.

“That’s not what I offered him,” Musri insisted Friday.

The imam said he feels Jones is a “good person at heart” who simply got himself into a difficult position and could not back down despite calls from Christian and world leaders.

“He could not back down, and I felt that it’s my responsibility, as the Muslim leader in central Florida, to go up to him and speak one-on-one with him and explain that he’s putting American lives in danger and he should reconsider.”

Jones’ plan to burn Qurans had set off a worldwide firestorm of concern, including from U.S. military leaders who said the event — timed for the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks — would imperil the lives of troops abroad.

Reaction to Quran burning pours in from around world

President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday urged Jones to call off the burning. The Vatican made a similar plea, and Interpol issued a worldwide alert that the act could spark violence.

Obama said Friday that the idea that “we would burn the sacred texts of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for.”

He said he hopes Jones “prays on it” and refrains from burning copies of the Quran.

The government has to send a clear message that such an act endangers U.S. troops and is a major recruiting tool for al Qaeda, Obama added.


Written by demon53

September 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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