Terry Jones, the controversial pastor, said on Saturday that neither he nor his church would follow through on plans to burn copies of the Koran. In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, Mr. Jones said repeatedly and emphatically that the event, originally scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was canceled and would not take place at any time.
“We feel that God is telling us to stop,” he said.
Mr. Jones arrived in New York Friday night, after slipping out of his church here without talking to reporters. He said that he was going to New York hoping to speak with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero. But Mr. Jones acknowledged that no meeting was scheduled.
He said in his television interview that whether or not a meeting occurred, the Koran burning would not take place. Without accepting any personal responsibility for the international tension he created, Mr. Jones added that the response to his now-canceled plans to burn copies of the Koran — including riots in Afghanistan that left at least one person dead — helped him achieve his goal of raising awareness about Islam.
“We feel that whenever we started this out, one of our reasons was to show, to expose that there is an element of Islam is very dangerous and very radical,” he said. “I feel that we have definitely accomplished that mission.”
( New York Times )