It’s just difficult to imagine a “misunderstanding” arising over such a major point. Jones called off the Qur’an burning for the moment; now the onus ought to be on Imam Muhammad Musri to come clean about what he told Jones. Hopefully, there were witnesses. For something this important, there should have been, and must be in the future to avoid precisely this sort of thing.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – An anti-Islamic preacher backed off and then threatened to reconsider burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, angrily accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him Thursday with a promise to move an Islamic center and mosque away from New York’s ground zero. The imam planning the center denied there was ever such a deal.
The Rev. Terry Jones generated an international firestorm with his plan to burn the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he has been under intense pressure to give it up. President Barack Obama urged him to listen to “those better angels” and give up his “stunt,” saying it would endanger U.S. troops and give Islamic terrorists a recruiting tool. Defense Secretary Robert Gates took the extraordinary step of calling Jones personally.
Standing outside his 50-member Pentecostal church, the Dove Outreach Center, alongside Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Jones said he relented when Musri assured him that the New York mosque will be moved.
Musri, however, said after the news conference that the agreement was only for him and Jones to travel to New York and meet Saturday with the imam overseeing plans to build a mosque near ground zero.
Hours later, Jones said Musri “clearly, clearly lied to us.”
“Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision,” Jones said. “So as of right now, we are not canceling the event, but we are suspending it.”
Jones did not say whether the Quran burning could still be held Saturday, but he said he expected Musri to keep his word and expected “the imam in New York to back up one of his own men.” [...]
It’d be nice, wouldn’t it?
Musri thanked Jones and his church members “for making the decision today to defuse the situation and bring to a positive end what has become the world over a spectacle that no one would benefit from except extremists and terrorists” who would use it to recruit future radicals.
Just like all those terrorist attacks from “radicalized” Christians after Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ — no, wait…
After Jones accused him of lying, Musri said the pastor “stretched my words” at the press conference. [...]
But what did Musri say?
In New York, the leader of the Islamic center project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, issued a statement saying he was glad Jones had decided not to burn the Quran but that he had spoken to neither the pastor nor Musri.
Glowing generalities make it all better:
“We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we going to barter,” Rauf said. “We are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony.”…
Still plowing ahead on a bulldozer named “Tolerance.”