In a rare display of his madness, the controversial US evangelical preacher on Sunday oversaw the burning of a copy of the Qura’an in a small Florida church after finding the Muslim holy book “guilty” of crimes. The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Terry Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Qura’ans on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks. Sunday’s event was presented as a trial of the book in which the Qura’an was found “guilty” and “executed.”
The event which would make the preacher a laughing-stock, did not draw much attention but it will certainly hurt the Muslim community across the globe and will undermine all efforts for inter-faith harmony. According to a report in Express Tribune, the so-called jury deliberated for about eight minutes. The book, which had been soaking for an hour in kerosene, was put in a metal tray in the center of the church, and Sapp started the fire with a barbecue lighter. The book burned for around 10 minutes while some onlookers posed for photos.
Jones had drawn trenchant condemnation from many people, including US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, over his plan to burn the Muslim holy book in September. He did not carry out his plan then and vowed he never would, saying he had made his point. But this time, he said he had been “trying to give the Muslim world an opportunity to defend their book,” but did not receive any answer. He said he felt that he couldn’t have a real trial without a real punishment. The event was open to the public, but fewer than 30 people attended.
Life in the normally quiet city of Gainesville is centered around the University of Florida. And while there were public protests against Jones’ 9/11 activities, this event was largely ignored. Jadwiga Schatz, who came to show support for Jones, expressed concern that Islam was growing in Europe.
“These people, for me, are like monsters,” she said. “I hate these people.”
Jones said he considered this event a success.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.
Not very long ago, controversial US pastor Terry Jones has been barred from entering the UK for the public good. The pastor, who last year planned a Koran-burning protest in the US, had been invited to address right-wing group England Is Ours in Milton Keynes. Mr. Jones told BBC Radio 5 live he would challenge the “unfair” decision and his visit could have been “beneficial”.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Numerous comments made by Pastor Jones are evidence of his unacceptable behavior. Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right and we are not willing to allow entry to those whose presence is not conducive to the public good. The use of exclusion powers is very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate.”