Quran burning cancelled
The Florida pastor at the center of an international firestorm for threatening to burn the Quran reaffirmed that he would not go ahead with the event on Saturday.world Updated: Sep 11, 2010 00:31 IST
The Florida pastor at the center of an international firestorm for threatening to burn the Quran reaffirmed that he would not go ahead with the event on Saturday.
Radical evangelist Terry Jones first announced on Thursday he had scrapped the mass burning of the Muslim holy book on September 11.
But when his claims that a deal had been struck to relocate a proposed Islamic cultural center in New York dissolved in acrimony, he threatened to go ahead with the event to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
However in an interview with ABC News on Friday he said: "Right now, we have plans not to do it. We believe that the imam is going to keep his word, what he promised us (on Thursday)."
Jones met Thursday with Orlando-based imam Mohammed Musri, who helped set up a meeting on Saturday with Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the controversial New York project. "He gave us the proposal that they would move the mosque from the Ground Zero location," Jones told ABC, despite Musri's denials of having made such a promise.
"The Muslims do not want us to burn the Quran. Americans do not want the mosque near the Ground Zero place. If they were willing to move the mosque from the Ground Zero location, we would be willing to cancel our event. He came back to me with that proposal," Jones said.
However, the organizers behind the controversial plans swiftly denied the claim by the radical Florida pastor that they had decided to move the project elsewhere. "We don't know anything about it," said Daisy Khan, one of the main promoters , and the wife of the imam behind the project.
Mosque backers regretful, divided
The backers of a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero are expressing regret about having created a controversy.
The Imam slated to lead the spiritual component of the center told CNN that if he had realized how some Americans would react to the location, he would have picked some other spot.
"If I knew this would happen, if it would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn't have done it," Feisal Abdul Rauf said.
Hisham Elzanaty, an Egyptian-born businessman who provided majority of the financing for the project, said that he has always viewed the project primarily as an investment opportunity.
Both men, though, saud they strongly support the center going forward.