Planned Koran burning in US called off by Florida pastor

Rev. Terry Jones claims that NY imam agreed to move site of Ground Zero mosque to prevent Koran burning, Muslims clerics deny quid pro quo.

By
September 10, 2010 01:58
1 minute read.
Terry Jones shaking hands with Muhammad Musri.

311_Koran book burning averted. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The pastor of a Florida church was adamant that he was promised that officials planning an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York would move the structure if he canceled his plans to burn Korans on Sept. 

Pastor Terry Jones spoke again to reporters Thursday after Muslim leaders said they had only agreed to a meeting Saturday in New York to discuss the mosque's location.

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Jones said he would be "very, very disappointed" if the mosque was not moved. He insisted that central Florida Imam Muhammad Musri told him four times in front of witnesses that the New York mosque leaders promised to move it.

Musri told The Associated Press he only offered to set up a meeting between Jones and the New York leaders. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who is planning the mosque also said there was no deal

Jones had announced earlier in the day that he decided to cancel the book burning after Rauf agreed to build his group's Islamic cultural center elsewhere in New York City.
US President Barack Obama had previously exhorted Jones to "listen to those better angels" and call off his plan to engage in a Koran-burning protest.

Obama told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview aired Thursday that he hopes the Rev. Terry Jones of Florida listens to the pleas of people who have asked him to call off the plan. The president called the burning a "stunt."

"If he's listening, I hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans," Obama said. "That this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance."


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