LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An outspoken South Los Angeles lawmaker has teamed up with the pastor of local church to join the rising chorus of opposition to a Florida minister’s threat to burn the Koran on this year’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters and Pastor John J. Hunter of the First AME Church held a news conference Friday, saying “it is the role of the church to urge communities to come together across all races and religions and to respect and defend the diversity of faiths of our fellow
“I am surprised and shocked by Pastor Terry Jones’ outrageous plans,” Hunter continued.
“They do not represent America or American values of religious tolerance and
Jones recently announced his small Florida congregation would burn 1,000
of the Islamic holy books on Saturday’s ninth anniversary of 9/11.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and
many others have condemned the idea, saying it could threaten troops in
Afghanistan, endanger national security and help extremists recruit terrorists.
Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, said Thursday he was
going to cancel the book burning because developers of a proposed Islamic
center two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan had agreed not to place the
After those involved with the center denied there was such an agreement,
Jones said his event may still go forward unless he could meet with the
Muslim imam in charge of the project.
Waters called Jones’ plan “offensive,” and also condemned the
extensive media coverage given to the head of a small fringe congregation.
“What is worse — the excessive media coverage gave Pastor Jones the
soap box he craved, and helped make this an international crisis surrounding a
day meant for personal and national remembrance and solidarity,” Waters said.
“His recent misleading statements about the planned burning, the conversations
with government and religious representatives, the trip to New York and the
alleged deal to move the Islamic community center only serve to confuse the
public and further promote the desecration of Islam, and quite frankly, all
“American citizens — particularly our brave men and women deployed and
working overseas — have no doubt been put in an unsafe position because of
the fallout from Pastor Jones,” she said. “We have already seen images of
American flags being burned in direct correlation to these events out of
Florida. Some international protesters have even been killed.”
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