Florida Cult Leader Terry Jones Calls Off Qu'ran Burning, but Taliban Press Ahead with Propaganda Campaign
The Dove World Outreach Center's extremist pastor, Terry Jones, announced that he would call off plans to burn copies of the Qu'ran on September 11.
The New York Times reports:
Terry Jones, a controversial Florida pastor, announced on Thursday that he will not burn hundreds of Korans to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In his remarks, Mr. Jones said:
Our thought was the American people do not as a whole want the mosque at the ground zero location — that if they were willing to either cancel the mosque at the ground zero location, or if they were willing to move it away form that location, we should consider that a sign from God.
While Mr. Jones spoke as if a deal had already been reached to move the planned center from its Lower Manhattan location, two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, Mr. Musri told reporters that no deal had been reached to change the location of the center in New York. Mr. Rauf has not yet commented on the announcement in Florida.
Mr. Jones claimed that Mr. Rauf “has agreed to move the location.” He added:
That cannot of course happen overnight, but he has agreed to do it…. The imam has agreed to move the mosque and we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday I will be flying up there to meet with him.
Rauf denied that a deal had been made, noting that he hadn't even agreed to meet with Jones. CNN reported:
“I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Korans,” Mr. Rauf said. “However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam Musri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other, nor are we going to barter. We are here to extend our hands and build peace and harmony.”
According to CBS News, the cancellation hasn't impacted the Taliban's plan to base a major recruiting offensive on the story:
Although the Rev. Terry Jones announced Thursday that he has canceled his controversial plans to burn copies of the Muslim holy book, the Taliban has already used the minister's protest to advance its cause.
CBS News has obtained some of the leaflets [that the Taliban] distributed on the backs of motorcycles to small villages in Paktia province, in the southeast part of the country, CBS News Correspondent Mandy Clark reports.
The leaflets include a call to avenge any burning of the Quran.
"To defend blessed Quran and righteous Islam and your religion, join our track and go for taking revenge of the holy Koran," the leaflets read in part.
Because many villagers cannot read, the leaflets were given to imams, who were instructed to pass the message on to villagers, even during their daily prayers.
Meanwhile, even-crazier-than-Terry-Jones media vampire Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church is promising to go ahead and burn the Qu'ran himself on Saturday. Will the media give him tons of attention?
Finally, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump offered to buy the Park 51 property for 125% of what the developers paid for it. According to the New York Post:
Hisham Elzanaty, an Egyptian-born businessman who says he provided a majority of the financing to gain control over the two buildings where an Islamic community center and mosque would be built, said he already has received offers for three times the $4.8 million price of the site.
"Develop it, raze it, sell it," Elzanaty, who lives on Long Island, told the Associated Press.
"If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it's all theirs."