Pakistan Christians are heaving a huge sigh of relief as they got news that the Qur’an burning in Florida had been canceled at the last moment.
|Pakistani lawyers carry a burning US flag during a protest in Multan to denounce the plans to burn the Koran by Rev. Terry Jones
(Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, pastored by the Rev. Terry Jones, had prompted an international firestorm of condemnation for announcing it planned to burn the Koran (Qur’an), the most holy book in the Islamic faith, on September 11, 2010, the ninth anniversary of the attack on America.
But then, many in Pakistan (and other Islamic countries), were deeply relieved when it was called off on Friday, September 10, 2010, just before what could have caused the possible deaths of many believers in Islamic countries, including Pakistan.
Before the threat was called off, already violence had erupted in Pakistan and even concerned Pakistan believers joined in the protests.
On Thursday, August 9, 2010, a joint protest rally by Pakistani Muslims and Christians took place in Peshawar, the hotbed of Islamic extremism and insurgency,
|Sign outside the church before the Koran burning was cancelled|
Addressing to the rally a local Bishop said that Rev. Jones “would doom countless Christians in Pakistan.” He added that it would “further engulf Pakistan in religious extremism.”
In Karachi, during a protest rally led by Christian eminent elders and attended by women, children and young people, it was claimed that the Rev Terry Jones “heinous act” might lead the whole world into “a Third World War.”
One speaker said, “Moreover it is also against the teachings of Christianity.”
At Sheikhupura, an influential local politician said that said that the “US Pastor must be indicted.”
A federal analyst, Brigadier (Retired) Liaquat Toor, said that the Koran burning could “hugely cost the US forces as the fallout from the threat of burning the Koran (Qur’an) “might be too dangerous” and could “turn the whole world against USA.” He added that it “might be great setback to World Peace and US policies.”
He also declared that the Rev. Terry Jones’ threat “would have endangered the minuscule Christian minorities living in predominantly Muslim states, particularly in Pakistan.”
As a reporter living in Pakistan, I can reveal that the Christian infrastructure here, including Churches and other institutions were under grave danger of being attacked by fundamentalist or bigoted Muslims if this burning had gone ahead in Gainesville.
|Afghans shout anti-U.S. slogans as they burn tires and block a highway during ongoing demonstrations (Photo: REUTERS)|
But fortunately, this has been averted by the last-minute decision not to go ahead with the event. But not before other protests also took place in nearby Afghanistan.
CBS 4, a local Gainesville TV station (http://cbs4.com) is now reporting that the church is apparently looking for a new home.
“It seems the church is unhappy it did not get more support from the city and its neighbors,” said the CBS 4 story.
“Wayne Sapp, associate pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, said Pastor Terry Jones is disappointed and hopes to move the church before the year’s end. The Pentecostal church has about 50 members, after almost half the congregation abandoned the church over the Koran-burning incident.
“Despite the fact that the plan to burn the books was almost universally condemned in the US, by liberals and conservatives alike, Sapp blames liberals for the lack if support. Sapp called Gainesville an overly liberal area, “controlled by the university.”
“Jones canceled his September 11th event due to international pressure, but has refused requests by an evangelical association to ‘repent for his error’. The Pentecostal church has about 50 members, after almost half the congregation abandoned the church over the Koran-burning incident.”