September 4th, 2010 11:12 EST
Florida Church Members Plan to Hold an "International Burn a Koran Day
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on media professionals and commentators to be responsible in reporting on a planned Quran burning by a tiny extremist Christian congregation in Florida.
On September 11, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., a church with fewer than 100 members, plans to hold an "International Burn a Koran Day." Church leaders are encouraging others to follow their example in burning the holy text. This is the same controversial church that has been in the news for claiming that "Islam is of the devil."
SEE: Religious Leaders Call for Solidarity Against Quran Burning
"Just as all Muslims should not be blamed for the actions of a few extremists, neither should all Christians or all Americans be blamed for the intentionally offensive actions of the Dove World Outreach Center," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Pastor Terry Jones represents nothing but an extremist fringe."
He said the Dove World Outreach Center is only seeking cheap publicity and does not represent mainstream Christianity.
"Media professionals have a responsibility to put this publicity stunt in its proper context in their reports and commentaries," said Awad.
CAIR this week distributed a television public service announcement (PSA) that implicitly challenges the Quran burnings.
SEE: CAIR `We Have More in Common than We Think` PSA
Awad noted that the National Association of Evangelicals, the largest evangelical group in the United States, said that the planned book burning shows, "disrespect for our Muslim neighbors and would exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims throughout the world." The National Council of Churches issued a similar statement.
SEE: Statement of the National Association of Evangelicals
Statement of Support from the National Council of Churches
Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe condemned the church saying it is a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community." The town even denied the church the required permit for the burning.
SEE: Gainesville Denies Dove World a Permit to Burn Quran
Twenty-four interfaith leaders in the Gainesville area have planned activities as a positive response to Dove World`s planned Quran burning. In a statement announcing their plans, the leaders said, "We state clearly the act of burning the sacred scripture of Islam has no place in our faith, our religious communities, our town, or in our nation."
SEE: Statement of Interfaith Leaders
CAIR is America`s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.