Ground Zero Mosque Opponents Condemn Florida Pastor’s Planned Quran Burning

By Dan Joseph | September 10, 2010 | 1:38 PM EDT

Pastor Terry Jones at a Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 news conference, where he initially called off a planned Quran burning. (AP photo)

( – Opponents of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero condemn a Florida pastor and his on-again-off-again plan to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Robert Spencer, author of “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran,” a book which warns readers of the dangers of Sharia law, condemned Pastor Terry Jones’ planned rally in no uncertain terms.

“I don’t approve of it” said Spencer “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, a tiny church in Gainesville, Fla., called off the action against the Muslim holy book late Thursday, after he said he was promised the proposed mosque at Ground Zero would be moved. But he later changed his mind, after the man behind the mosque, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, denied he had made any agreement.

But those whose opposition to the controversial Ground Zero mosque has been labeled by the mainstream media as evidence of “intolerance” or anti-Islamic sentiment say they want nothing to do with the planned burning of the Muslim holy book.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, is with the group Keep America Safe, which has helped lead the charge against the Ground Zero mosque. Burlingame did not hesitate to condemn Jones’ actions as a “stunt.”  In a phone interview, Burlingame defended Jones’ right to hold the rally but questioned his wisdom.

“Just because he has a First Amendment right to engage in that kind of free speech doesn’t mean he should do it,” she told

Spencer said he hoped that both Jones as well as those who are promoting the building of a mosque at Ground Zero would be more sensitive to the deeply held views of those who are opposed to these actions.

“The people who are going to build the mosque ought to be aware of the sensibilities of the people who oppose the mosque and understand that if they want to build bridges and create harmony like they claim they should take the hurt that this mosque is causing into account. It’s the same thing with the Quran burning. The people who want to do it should take the sensitivities of the people who oppose them into account and not do it on that basis.”

Ground Zero mosque opponents are not alone, leaders of conservative and religious groups have widely condemned Jones for planning “Burn a Quran Day,” including Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights President Bill Donahue.

“Minister Jones is more than a disgrace,” Donohue said. “He is engaged in agitprop and must be unequivocally condemned. There are plenty of legitimate ways to protest the wrongdoing that took place on September 11, 2001. Burning copies of the Koran is not one of them.”

Jones, meanwhile, is slated to go to New York, where he said he plans to meet with Imam Rauf.