Pastor cancels plan to burn Quran, then does a 'rethink'

  • AFP, Florida
  • Updated: Sep 10, 2010 11:54 IST

Radical Florida pastor Terry Jones threatened on Thursday to "rethink" his decision to abandon plans for a weekend Quran-burning event that has drawn global outrage.

Hours after calling off the much-criticised ceremony to mark Saturday's anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Jones rowed back and said it had merely been suspended.

"Right now we are just putting a temporary hold upon our planned event," he said.

The pastor of the tiny evangelical church, the Dove World Outreach Center, had earlier said his change of heart over the event was in exchange for a deal to relocate a controversial mosque project near Ground Zero in New York.

But the alleged deal was thrown into confusion when the imam leading the project for the Islamic cultural center in New York, Feisal Abdul Rauf, quickly denied any such agreement.

Jones claimed to have won assurances from an Orlando imam acting as a go-between, Mohammed Musri, that Rauf was willing to do a deal and would meet him in New York on Saturday to discuss it.

"We put a suspension on it because right now we are actually really disappointed and very shocked because if this turns out to be true, he (Musri) very clearly lied to us," Jones said later after Rauf's denial.

"We would be forced to rethink our decision, because we cancelled it based upon his word. I understand he (Musri) is now going around saying that he did not say that."

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