CBS News is now reporting that a Florida minister who planned to burn the Qur’an on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is now “reconsidering” his cancellation of the event Thursday after learning that a deal to move the location of a controversial mosque near New York’s ground zero wasn’t what he thought.
“We’re definitely going to think it over and reconsider it,” the Rev. Terry Jones told reporters Thursday night. “Now we’re in somewhat a state of limbo, and we have to rethink of course our position.”
Earlier, Jones had canceled the event under intense pressure, standing outside his small church alongside Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida.
Musri, and the imam planning the New York mosque, disputed Jones’ contention that a deal had been cut. A representative for the New York imam told CBS News that any agreement with Jones is false.
Musri later told The Associated Press there was only an agreement for him and Jones to travel to New York and meet Saturday with the imam overseeing plans to build a mosque near ground zero.
CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella said, in a report from Gainesville, that Jones claimed the controversial Islamic center near ground zero had always been a key factor in his decision.
“Our thought was the American people do not, as a whole, want the mosque at the ground zero location,” Jones told reporters Thursday.
Jones conveyed the importance of the center’s location to Musri, the imam told Cobiella.
“He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s moved today or 10 years from now as long as eventually there’s no mosque at ground zero,’” Musri told Cobiella. “As Muslims we should be very sensitive to the feelings of the families of the victims of 9/11.”
CBS News Correspondent Mandy Clark, in a report from Kabul, said, “In Afghanistan, the Taliban has used the Qur’an-burning controversy to win new recruits.”
She said that CBS News on Thursday had obtained Taliban leaflets that urged villagers to join them in seeking revenge. Most villagers are illiterate, so the leaflets would have been left with imams to read out in mosques and spread the word that way.
The Taliban has capitalized on the controversy at the holiest time of the year for Muslims, a time when the mosques will be packed with followers, Clark reported.