July 29th, 2009 18:36 EST
Anti-Islam Sign: Right Wing?
An advocate for the Muslim community in Florida, during a one-on-one meeting Tuesday, was unable to persuade the senior pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville to remove a sign that reads "Islam is of the devil."
"I was pleased that at least he was making the bridge to meet with me," said Ramzy KiliÃ§, Tampa`s executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It doesn`t seem like (taking down the sign) is going to happen, and he didn`t want to know more about Islam."
KiliÃ§ met with Jones for about 25 minutes Tuesday at the Dove World Outreach Center, 5805 N.W. 37th St., which has a series of hand-painted signs that read in red "Islam is of the devil." "
KiliÃ§ said his concern isn`t based on the fact that the sign is offensive to him personally, but rather the fear that it might galvanize a subset of the population to act violently against a Mosque or even worse a Muslim individual.
"I don`t think (Terry Jones) had any intent to be hateful to Muslims, but I just think he sees the Bible as the only way to God," KiliÃ§ said of Jones and the church.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, is a national non-profit organization that works on civil rights issues on behalf of Muslim Americans.
The center in Tampa received calls from concerned citizens in Gainesville and KiliÃ§ said that prompted him to set up the meeting Tuesday to try to convince Jones to remove the sign.
KiliÃ§ said that Jones demonstrated very little knowledge about Islam during the meeting.
Jones has an honorary doctorate in theology from the California Graduate School of Theology.
"A lot of the things he was raising were not even about Islam. They were about countries with Muslim majorities," KiliÃ§ said. "Many Muslims come to America so they can practice Islam freely. I don`t even consider Osama bin Laden a Muslim."