Pastor's 'Burn a Koran Day' Sparks Int'l Uproar

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A pastor in Florida is proceeding with his plans to burn Korans on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. However, the idea has caused an international uproar.

Major religious groups across America have condemned Pastor Terry Jones' plans to hold "International Burn a Koran Day" this Saturday.

"I say, 'Shame on you,'" said Rev. Richard Cizik of New Evangelical Partnership.

"Religious leaders cannot stand by in silence when things like this are happening," said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Rev. Rob Schenck is a minister in Washington, D.C., and spoke with CBN News about the planned "Burn a Koran" event.  Click play for his comments on how followers of Jesus Christ should respond to the growing tension between Christians and Muslims.

Top American diplomats are worried how the Koran-burning will be viewed by Muslims worldwide. As a result, they are praising religious leaders who have publicly opposed it.

"I am heartened by the clear unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As anti-American protests continue, there's worry among American military and missionary leaders that such actions could get their people in Muslim lands attacked or even killed.

"It puts our soldiers in jeopardy very likely," said Gen. David Patraeus, the commander of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. "We've already seen a demonstration here in Kabul, just at the rumor that this event could take place."

"Muslim extremists can't attack the United States, but they can burn the church across town and kill the pastor and other Christians by mob violence," said Carl Moeller of Open Doors Ministry.

Meanwhile in Gainesville, Fla., Jones who heads the Dove World Outreach Church, has been warned by people that he's the one in danger.

Jones said he's received more than 100 death threats and now carries a pistol for self-protection.

He also said he and his congregation of 50 are praying about whether to proceed with the Saturday's scheduled Koran-burning. But he says they are worried about the message backing down might send.

"When do we stop giving in to Islam or radical Islam?" asked Jones. "When they burn the flag? When they kill Christians? When they burn churches? When they threaten to kill the President of the United States? When? If we back down now, ok fine. But how much can we back down?"

"I have the great fear that the story of bigotry, the story of hatred the story of animosity to others is going to be taken by some to be the story of the real America," McCarrick said. "But it's not."

Gen. Petraeus thinks the Koran-burning will only profit the cause of radical Islam.

"And I think in fact images from such an activity could very well be used by extremists here and around the world," Patraeus said.

"When Muslims take that footage, when al-Jazeera broadcasts over and over the images of Korans being burned, Christians around the world will suffer, almost no doubt about that," Moeller said. "We will most likely see Christians killed, because of these Koran burnings."

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.