Christian, Jewish Group Condemn 'Koran Burning' Day

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Evangelical and Jewish groups are calling plans by a Gainsville, Fla., church to burn the Islamic holy book on 9/11 both destructive and 'morally repugnant.'

Florida Pastor Terry Jones said members of his Dove World Outreach Center believe "Islam is of the devil." He invited those who feel the same to gather at his church for what he is calling "International Burn a Koran Day."

"Islam and Sharia law was responsible for 9/11," Jones said. "We will burn Korans because we think it's time for Christians, for churches, for politicians to stand up and say 'no. Islam and Sharia law is not welcome in the U.S.'"

Jones added that the organized Koran burnings are to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However many Christians are deeply opposed to the idea.

"It sounds like the proposed Koran burning is rooted in revenge," said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. "Yet the Bible says that Christians should 'make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else' (1 Thess. 5:15)."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center -- an international Jewish human rights group -- joined the Christian community in condemning the proposal.

"Sept. 11 should be a day for prayers for the 9/11 victims and their families and redoubling our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and all other terrorists bent on our nation's destruction," the center's associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, and Interfaith Director Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, said in a statement.

"The burning of the book holy to the world's Muslims is morally repugnant," they continued. "We urge leaders of this church to cancel this despicable act, which will certainly spawn a wave of new recruits for Islamist extremism and terrorism."

The Florida church has launched a YouTube channel to spread its message. A Facebook group for the event also had nearly 3,000 fans on Aug. 2.

However another Facebook group that protests the "Burn a Koran Day" has more than 6,500 fans. The page is devoted "against the disrespect and intolerance that these people have for the Muslim people."

"As a Christian myself, I am totally embarrassed to have this event affiliated with my beliefs," one member wrote.

So far, the Florida church has not been influenced by the condemnations and still plans to carry out the event.

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