Thursday, September 09, 2010
Pastor Cancels Koran Burning and Plans to Meet Imam - NYTimes.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The pastor planning a burning of the Koran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks said Thursday he would not go forward with the event, adding he would meet with the imam planning to build an Islamic center near ground zero.
But a deal that the pastor, Terry Jones, said that he had reached to move the Islamic center far from ground zero seems to be more vision than reality. The imam planning the center, Feisal Abdul Rauf, said in a statement that he had not spoken to Mr. Jones or Muhammad Musri, the Orlando Imam who has been acting as a mediator between New York and Gainesville.
The pastor's announcement came after a growing chorus of demands, from President Obama to religious leaders, American generals and others, that he cancel the event planned for Saturday because of the potential impact on Christian-Muslim relations and the effect a Koran burning would have on American troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Earlier in the day, President Obama said that the pastor's plan to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was a “stunt” that violates American principles of religious tolerance.
“If he’s listening, I just hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans,” Mr. Obama said in an interview shown Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” referring to to Mr. Jones.
The pastor's announcement that he was canceling the Koran burning was the latest twist in a series of events that had propelled Mr. Jones to worldwide notoriety and raised deeper concerns about festering extremism in the United States.