From British daily The Guardian:
The Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Qur’an suspended the plan last night in the face of condemnation by Barack Obama, the Pentagon, the state department and international outrage.
Although he had initially announced that the bookburning was cancelled, he later said the plan was only “suspended” because he was “lied to” over a deal to call off the event in exchange for a promise to move a planned Islamic centre away from New York’s Ground Zero.
Terry Jones, who heads the Dove World Outreach Centre church in Gainesville, Florida, claimed he was not bowing to the pressure from the White House and abroad but had taken the decision because of the agreement. However, it emerged last night that Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, had phoned Jones and asked him not carry out his threat.
Jones also claimed he was planning to fly to New York to discuss the proposed cultural centre’s new location with the New York imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
But the imam, in a statement issued last night, said he had not spoken to Jones.
“I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Qur’ans. However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones,” he said. “I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we going to barter.”
There was a collective sigh of relief worldwide as Jones announced at a press conference that he was dropping his plan to set fire to 20 copies of the Qur’an. The burning had been planned to coincide with the ninth anniversary tomorrow of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
Interpol, the Pentagon and others warned that such an act would provoke violent acts around the world by outraged Muslims. There were protests in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries yesterday at the proposed burning.
As tensions mounted, claims emerged from Germany that Jones was dismissed from a church he founded there after accusations that he mistreated his followers.
“Understanding Islam”: a very welcome new initiative from the Coexist Foundation: here.