The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Coming Soon: ‘International Burn a Koran Day’

By Alexander Zaitchik on July 22, 2010 - 9:05 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim

After years of having the field all to himself, Westboro Baptist Church leader and gay-basher extraordinaire Fred Phelps might finally have some competition for the title of America’s most media-hungry hate-church preacher.

On Sept. 11, Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center will hold the first “International Burn a Koran Day” ceremony on the steps of his church in Gainesville, Fla. According to the church’s website, the event was organized “in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”

If you recognize Dove World, it’s likely from the media outcry (including heavy play on CNN) that met their placement of lawn signs earlier this month proclaiming just that: “Islam is of the Devil.” We’ve also written about it frequently on this blog (here and here and here).

As of this writing, nearly 500 people have clicked “like” on the event’s webpage, which also features Photoshop images premised on the nuking of Iran and Mecca. One of these shows Mecca’s Grand Mosque full of pilgrims, with the simple tag: “Nuke It.”

At least some of the page’s supporters seem to have learned much of what they know about Islam from Fox News’ distortive hyping and conspiracy mongering regarding the case of a conservative mole at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). A person who identified herself as Fran Ingram, for example, posted a video of Fox News’ coverage of the CAIR story with the title, “No Moderate Muslims.”

Like the stunts pulled by Phelps (who runs the infamous website), “International Burn a Koran Day” seems designed to draw heavy fire from editorialists and television news crews. Jones, the Dove World Outreach leader, posts a semi-regular “Braveheart” show on YouTube, and clearly revels in media attention. Dove’s website has collected all of the editorials and television news spots devoted to the lawn sign controversy. The list of links appears just below the description of the church as a “New Testament, Charismatic, Non-Denominational Church that believes in the whole Bible and that we are to act in response to the word of God in order to change the times we are living in.”

Like the more famous Fred Phelps, one of whose rallies this year was joined by Dove congregants, Jones’ theology of hate is streaked with venomous homophobia. “What is homosexuality?” Jones has written. “Detestable, indecent, wicked, offensive, perverted, shameful, unnatural, degrading, impure, futile, foolish, godless, dishonorable, a lie.” On August 2, Jones and his church will be “standing against homosexuality” in a protest in front of the local city hall.

With the announcement of his latest anti-Islam initiative, one gets that sense that Jones and his followers aren’t really satisfied with burning books. Like the old saying goes, it does not take a large leap of imagination to picture them gleefully burning much more besides.

  • Mike

    Clearly stated in Koran that other religions are not respected. Taliban, Saudis, Iran whatever they do with the name of Allah by his book. When some Muslims say Islam is a religion of peace i just laughed. If you are a Muslim and Want to change your religion you are sentenced to death by Koran. By the way I am absolutely oppose this guys act to burn Koran.

  • Feras al

    Here is a response by a Catholic Priest from Damascus .. very inspiring:

  • fouad

    well i can’t describe when i first heard the news , this thing is a disaster , and it could be a problem for millions of Christians , living in Arab and Muslims country , my voice must be heard, i’m an ex Muslim , I’ve been persecuted and still , stuck here for my faith , thing like this could get me and many in a real threatened position,
    for god sake who said ,
    Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
    we don’t need another crusade , what we have of foolish acts is enough, god bless you all for his name , may him give you wisdom to recognize the different


  • June Fredman

    Ironically, one of the traditional Islamic criticisms of Jews is that they did not honor Jesus as a legitimate prophet — as he is honored by Muslims. He is considered by them to be on a par with Moses and Muhammed. It is typical of book burners that they never read what they’re burning. Sad.

  • Hassan Yaghi

    “Do you want to burn the Quran?”

    If you want to burn the Quran I invite you to read it first.

    Then it is your choice to proceed; You will figure out that:

    You will be burning Adam and Noah, Abraham and Issac, Jacob and Josef, David and Salomon, Moses and John….and all prophets and saints
    You will be burning Jesus and his saint spirit ….
    You will be burning Mary and her baby ….
    You will be burning the Torah and the Bible ….

    Go ahead
    Burn the light to satisfy your darkness….
    Burn the love to satisfy your hatred….
    Burn the peace to satisfy your anger….
    Burn the compassion to satisfy your cruelty….
    Burn the knowledge to satisfy your ignorance….

    Do all the above in your heart only….
    Oh wait; would you still have a heart after the above?! Would you be Christian or Jewish, would you be even human?!

    The Quran won’t be affected of what you would do, because the creator said about it:
    “Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” 15-9

    You would burn the papers of the Quran, but even by burning it, it will show light… to all man kind.

    It will keep saying: “Their intention is to extinguish God’s Light with their mouths: But GOD will complete His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).”61-9

    And it will keep saying: “And the servants of the Beneficent God are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace!”25-63


    Hassan Yaghi, Seattle, Wa
    Aug 26, 2010

  • zain ali

    he idiot , illiterate doesnt know that the QURAN is holy book of ALLAH
    actually QURAN is guide manual for mankind
    if he ever understand it

  • Omar Abu-Hajar

    Here is an excerpt directly from the book they plan to burn, The Holy Koran, (English translation of the meaning and Commentary), 3:45-47 pg. 155:

    “O Mary! Allah (God) giveth thee Glad tidings of a Word From Him: his name Will be Christ Jesus, The son of Mary, held in honor In this world and the Hereafter And of those nearest to Allah.”

    “He shall speak to the people In childhood and in maturity. And he shall be Of the righteous.”

    “And Allah will teach him The Book and Wisdom, The Torah and the Gospel, And (appoint him) A messenger to the Children Of Israel…”

    If this “so called preacher” will take the time to understand that all Muslims must read the Koran and believe in the existence of Jesus as one of God’s prophets, I would hope that he might have a change a heart and not burn a holy book that praises Jesus Christ as one of the most righteous on Earth and in Heaven and one nearest to God.

  • serah

    There are few people who are defaming Islam. I am muslim and Islam teaches us not to impose things over others. Its meaning is “PEACE”. How come the realigion whose meaning is PEACE can promote terrorism. There is a big misunderstanding. Whoever are doing all these nasty things are pretending to be muslims just to melign Islam’s name. PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES

  • SRM

    This act is the act of a group of people who do not have the faintest idea abt wat they are doing….. how can they call themselves religious if they don’t even know how to respect other religions?????…. Islam is the religion of peace, of love….. Islam says that we should respect other people’s faith…. in Islam, the Muslims are forbidden in any way to hurt someone physically, or mentally… Islam preaches to respect self, property, honor n pride of everyone, it doesn’t matter who they are!!!
    I am a Muslim Alhamdulillah, proud of being a Muslim…. and i respect all the religions…. all the faiths… and that is true for most of the Muslims…..So why is that church tormenting the Muslims by being disrespectful to their beloved Qur’an??????
    Please take a stand against it!!!

  • e148

    Do you people listen to yourselves? You are preaching hate to someone. HATE SPEECH!!!!!

    The First Amendment should be invoked here. People have a right to say what they want. We also have a right not to listen, if we so chose.

    More wars have been fought over religion. Muhammad attacked several cities on his way to securing Islamic law. If he had been a Jew then this may have been the Messiah the Jews were looking for—the type of Messiah anyway. I am not saying that Muhammad was the Jewish messiah. Do not get me wrong.

    The Torah (and the Bible) is full of wars/battles and the Jews thought that the Messiah would be a warrior, which is presumably why they never accepted Jesus as their savior, and allowed him to die.

    It is ironic that the religions all preach that killing is wrong and yet all do it. These three religions all glorify war.

    Christ never called himself a Christian. He was a Jew. He said love thy enemy but also got angry and overturned a table of goods that was being sold outside of a synagogue. Most people would not do that now, even Christians. I have seen items sold by the church outside of a church but on church property. Christ probably would have overturned these. This act is not killing but it is violent. Burning a book is not killing but is somewhat violent. In other words, Christ was not a Nancy boy– effeminate. He was a carpenter. This should indicate that he was physically strong and good eye to hand coordination.

    Question: How can there be religious tolerance when all religions claim that theirs is the only way and getting others to believe as they do, is mandatory.

    Go forth and proclaim . . . .

    If yours is the only way then it is your duty to show others that they are wrong. But since none of any of your beliefs can be proven then it is just your word against theirs. God would not allow conflicting beliefs.

    Nonbelievers are infidels. Thou shall have no other Gods before me. Christ says, “ I am the way.” These are clearly not meant to preach tolerance. How can you as Muslims, Jews and Christians preach tolerance and call yourselves religious at all?

    Religions are man made. There are errors in translations of sacred texts and often taken out of context (and who decided what texts are sacred in the first place) , if the context is actually known. Religions themselves teach non-tolerance. They are against non-conformance. In other words they demand that you adhere to what their books say. You are considered bad/evil and are condemned if you do not. Fairness would dictate that if these edicts apply to me then they must apply to everyone. So, how does this not lead to conflict? How can you preach tolerance? If I cannot make an image of Muhammad then you cannot either, as an example. How do you know what Muhammad looked like? So how can you say that anyone made an image of him? Same thing with Christ, although nothing against it according to Christians. There are paintings of him but can they be accurate? No yet people claim to see images of Christ from time to time.

    Another question: Why, if there is only one God, does he/she/it need a name? There are billions of us and names are needed to distinguish between us. Of course, we still have people with the same names. Applying a name to an omnipotent, omnipresent, being implies a sex (calling God Father, he or she for that matter) which is a limiting factor and therefore a contradiction.

    There seems to be a big deal as what is God’s name. Why?

    Some of you say the religious intolerance is wrong. So be it, but if we did not have religion then we would not have religious intolerance. A lot of the world’s problems solved. So long as there is more than one religion there will be strife.

    Anytime you create a group it is a polarizing event. It represents a subset, only a part of humanity. As big as these three religions are – combined they account for only about ½ of the world’s population, or less. Religious or political groups say I am great and you are not, if you are not a part of this group. Each of three religions, individually, account for about 1/10 the world’s population, in other words, a small minority.

    I am NOT saying anything against God, just religion.

  • Stephen

    These people are not of any Christian or religious groups that want to burn the Koren. They are individuals of hate.

  • voiceless

    I have been a member in Terry Jones church in Cologne Germany over 20 years and have been one of the elders until 2008. He and his wife are conducted by “narcissism”.

    We really was shocked to see the videos and the comments. I think it is imperative, that the Jones couple do not only take a clear stand regarding the Islam, but also to take a clear stand to there criminal activities in Germany. Ask Terry Jones about illegal money transfers, private payments from offerings and tithes, unpaid debts in Germany, financial and spiritual abuse of church members and much more.

    In Gainesville you have the same situations.

    What about the academy of DWOC? What about the illegal workers in DWOC?

    In the past many people came from Germany to Gainesville with a religious visa and ended up working for his private business. (See ebay under: tsandcompany and artcollector-usa”).

    He confronts sin, but what about his and Sylvias sins?

    We can give you much more informations, if you want. I myself have been several times in Gainesville and know how this people act. Why did he escape from Germany?

    It was not the Islam or persecution, it was fear.

    Fear to take responsibility for the things that he has done here and in the church of Cologne. The founders wife “Dolores Northrup” also left the church some month ago, because she could not anymore agree with the activities of Sylvia and Terry Jones. Best regards, voiceless, Cologne, Germany

  • Ali

    I hate this, dont celebrate this day plz,,

  • Janet Oberholtzer

    I’m a Christian, but if more churches plan things like the Burn a Koran Day, I’m going to pull an Anne Rice …

  • Gerrie Rousseau

    There are plenty of hate groups in the political area of Facebook too!

  • sabrina

    wow. this disgusts me. i’m muslim and i could not be any more offended. it makes me mad because everyone perceives us as some sort of threat,but its a small group of ignorant monkeys that have deemed us “terrorists”. islam itself encourages peace,the idiot who came up with “international burn a Qur’an day” is going to burn in hell.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    I suggest giving up religion.

  • Just Visiting

    Mauricio, I agree with what you said. But you do have to admit that people have a bad perception of other religions because of what has been happening recently. Also I do agree with you that if someone wants to put a certain group with a religion must first study their culture. Just my opinion!

  • Anonymous X

    There were muslims who died in 9/11…..

  • Adil

    I haven’t read ALL the posts, but I just want to say that as offended as I am as a Muslim by Terry Jones, I’m just as offended that people here are explaining his stupidity by saying he is Southern. I am SOUTHERN and a MUSLIM and do not hate anyone. Not even Terry Jones. Southerners are some of the kindest people in the world. Yes, there are some that stereotype, that still harbor prejudices against other races (this isn’t just white folks, but African Americans, Hispanics, Arabs, Asians, South Asians, etc as well.) Being southern has nothing to do with Terry Jones being wrong here!

  • Mauricio Torres

    I would suggest that we organize a mix ceremony of worship for the Lord, in which, Muslims, Christians and Jews participate together. It would take place at the same hour and place as the planned sick proposal from Jones. Freedom is right, but to use it to abuse the beliefs of others is downright wrong and should not go unnoticed. Authorities cannot accept the premise that one can say and do those things that are offensive to others. People who try to put terrorists and Muslims in the same group, are either ignorant or evil. I am a Catholic, firm in my belief that every human being is my brother under the Lord and I accept and respect that there are others who see other ways to worship the Lord. Their ways are as valid as mine.

  • Rae

    Matthew 25:40 That is all

  • Duende

    Hate is Hate… whether you hate red neck homophobic christian fundamentalists or gay liberal atheists (or anything in between, up down left or right). It’s all the dame energy. It’s a tough truth.. specially when you think you’re on the side of righteousness.. where we all like to think we are.



  • ruben

    i was brought up in a conservative evangelical christian family and although i don’t attend church often i still consider myself christian. i am also of mexican decent and i would consider white right wing christians more of a threat to me or my family then any muslim that i have ever met.these people talk about islamofacists but they are proof that there is also christofacists.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “There is also one prominent Jewish group appearing to be against the apartheid in Israel or any other issue that Jews are for the most part in favor of. For example, “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” in the USA. This doesn’t change the fact that the majority of Jews are against gun rights.”

    Really? You did a survey on that?

    “My point is that the implication on this site that only White people can be racist is the most racist thing of all. ”

    Then you clearly aren’t reading enough of this site. They have done exposes on non-white extremist groups. As it so happens, such groups tend not to cause nearly as much trouble as Neo-Nazi skinheads, the Klan, and what-not.

    But what does this have to do with the article, seeing as how this group of people burning the Koran are not a racialist group?

    “There are no places on earth more progressive and tolerant of other races than the places where the most White people are.”

    And this is based on…?

    “So to call out White people as being the only racist people is completely out of touch with reality.”

    Nobody is doing that.

    ” Jews have a state specifically for their interests. How much more racist can you get than that?”

    Jews are not a race, and many Jews oppose Zionism.

  • Lee

    “One of the organizations most responsible for publicizing the abuse of Palestinians to the world is Bet Tselem, a Jewish organization.” – Ruslan

    There is also one prominent Jewish group appearing to be against the apartheid in Israel or any other issue that Jews are for the most part in favor of. For example, “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” in the USA. This doesn’t change the fact that the majority of Jews are against gun rights.

    My point is that the implication on this site that only White people can be racist is the most racist thing of all. There are no places on earth more progressive and tolerant of other races than the places where the most White people are. So to call out White people as being the only racist people is completely out of touch with reality. Jews have a state specifically for their interests. How much more racist can you get than that?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Well Lee, what do you mean “Jews” torture 600 Palestinians. Ok these Israelis are Jews but there are thousands if not several million Jews worldwide which oppose and fight against this oppression. One of the organizations most responsible for publicizing the abuse of Palestinians to the world is Bet Tselem, a Jewish organization.

    Of course this is moot because the idiots in question don’t represent “white people”, thus it is false to say “white people burn Korans”, and perhaps more importantly, this story has nothing to do with what Israel does. Oh yeah, and most Jews, at least in America or Europe, are “white”. Not to mention there are millions of “white” Muslims.

    Your argument fails on all levels it seems.

  • Lee

    White people burn Korans. Jews torture 600 Palestinians each month.

    Get the picture?

  • iRevolt

    “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.” – Heinrich Heine

  • anne

    Stop with this “oh he’s southern” bullshit, as if that explains it. I’m from the South, I didn’t learn racism in my family, and when I came home with an Arab husband, it was not a big deal. That’s a total cop-out, it almost sounds like you’re excusing his behavior.

    As far as he goes, what a sad, sorry excuse for a Christian.

  • voiceless

    Hi, I was 20 years member of this cult here in Germany.
    I have a lot of informations about Terry D. Jones an his
    slaves. Pls. see also the comments on this video;

  • Yama

    @Alan Aardman
    A positive one. I guess that’s what they want, an excuse to go in to Pakistan and bomb some Arabs.

    (yes, I already know that)

  • Loli

    Please, I am begging you, please step in to get Facebook to stick to their terms of service and delete hate speech.

    That page has been up for days now and so far I have seen treats and depictions of violence against Muslims and undeniable hate speech.

  • JBO

    I just went to Facebook and tried to report the Dove World page for hate speech (which FB bans) but I couldn’t find it. I sincerely hope that this means that enough other people reported it and FB removed it, but if anyone else finds it, please go to the left side of the page, click on “Report This Page” and then fill out the very short form that pops up.

    On another topic, I wanted to caution people against stereotyping southerners on a site that a) is looking to end discrimination against people based on their geographic origin, among many other factors and b) is BASED IN THE SOUTH. I’m descended from southerners on one side and foreigners on the other, and went to college in Massachusetts. I’ve known wonderful, open-minded people from all those areas, and I’ve also known total bigots from all those areas. It’s a wee bit hypocritical to rail against someone for bigotry against a whole group of people when you don’t hesitate to do it yourself.

  • Mohammed Nizamuddin

    He is not a preacher who spreads hate among people based on religious belief. This cycle of hate spreading among different religions by extremists are only going to add fuel to the fire & other groups elsewhere try to justify their extremist actions. It goes out of control when the authorities do not take effective measures in time. At least the civilized societies should live by setting good example so that others can take a lesson. Finally, God knows what is hidden in the minds & hearts, surely no one can escape His punishment.
    May good sense prevails.

  • Alan Aardman

    These men are a danger to international security. What effect would an “International Burn a Koran Day” in the United States have on al-Qaeda recruitment efforts?

  • iqraa

    They burned the Holy Qur’an because they were so sentiment and jealousy against Islam, moreover, they never respect their own religions/believing so that they did so much foolish actions. As Muslims, we do not have to get angry for their …psychopaths or misunderstandings about Islam because Al-mighty Allah The Most Gracious and The Most Victorious most knows their stupidities. I think they have an accute syndrome of Islamphobia. Anyhow, Islam is an Universal Religion and has a meaning of Peace. There’s no Al-mighty God but Allah hu Akbar and Muhammad is His final Prophet.

  • cindy hawkins-legorreta

    One of my Islamic ESL students and I often speculate about Jesus and Mohammad, if they were sitting together ‘up there’, lamenting the ways in which humans create, then stoke the fires of hatred, divisiveness and discord. We then always follow this, by citing the similarities between the truths of Islam and the doctrines of Christianity. Yes, there are extremists everywhere, in BOTH religious ‘camps’. And although I’m dismayed and concerned by their ugly actions, my faith, energy and support will forever be with the peacemakers and sowers of compassion and understanding – whatever their individual creeds.

  • David Scott

    This is pretty sad… here we live in a nation that goes out of its way to “promote” peace(all for it).. infiltrates other countries to stop “terrorism” and has plenty of media hungry retards occupying it….anyways someone needs to preach some moral sense into this man,. how can he be involved in the lovely church life but promote hatred……..

  • Po Rofek

    A true religion wouldn’t burn each other’s sacred texts. The Old Testament, Bible, and Qur’an all share the common faith of One God, the Almighty. Why would these people do that? Are they that ignorant? The one thing us Muslims have an advantage over these folks is that we see both sides of the picture. We live in a Christian nation but we are Muslims. We understand your faith but these people don’t seem to understand the true qualities of Islam.

  • Tanis

    Phil I lost you on your post, but I agree with the saying “What fools these Mortals Be”. I kind of heard it with different wording but ultimately it has the same meaning. Good Post!

  • GENA

    just try it, you will be so sorry you opened your mouth!!!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    You know, must churches will send you a free Bible if you ask them. Perhaps this church is not an exception. See where I’m going with this?

  • pixie

    Obviously these people have no idea that Mary and Joseph and Jesus are all venerated in the Koran, as is Mary’s mother Anne, or they might be reading the books instead of burning them.

  • mandinka

    You mean that they are rivaling Jesse, Sharpton, jerimah wright and Farakan??

  • bryony1

    A “Dove” is a symbol of hope and peace. These people should change their name to “Raptor.”
    The planned Koran burning is intended to incite negative Muslim reaction so “Dove” can say: “Look, we told you so!”

  • phil

    Islam is a wonderful and Beautiful religion. There are stories that are in the Bible that are in the Koran, Abraham was the father of both Judaism and Islam.

    In Islam there are some off the wall nut cases like in Christainity, this guy proves it.

    This earth is one country and mankind its citizens
    God is one, Man is one and all the religions agreed.

    As, Puck said in Midsummer’s Dream, “What fools these Mortals Be.”

  • Just Kelly

    Okay…southern, yes, fair enough… close-minded, racist, redneck, and ignorant, certainly… but communist? Where the heck did that come from? Most communists I know detest religion, particularly fundamentalist dogma such as being spewed here.

    Other than that though, I agree with ya. This is pretty disturbing stuff, particularly since I’m Jewish and we have a history of people taking a “Kill ’em all” attitude towards us, so we know what it’s like (I sometimes think the one thing that might bridge the gap between Jews and Muslims is the common experience of being punching bags for people like Phelps, Jones, et al. Maybe that’s their purpose in life, to bring people together in a twisted sort of way?)

  • anisa schaub

    And they called them Christian?
    I will never imagine that Jesus would lead hate filled protest against other human being.

    Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity -MLK-

  • Shannon Halfhill

    What an idiot….nothing but a southern, close-minded, racist, redneck, ignorant, communist bigot. How can he be a preacher and preach hate for anyone? So now he is in the judging business? Who is he or anyone to judge anyone regardless of their beliefs…and last time I checked, Freedeom of Religion was still part of our basic rights as Americans. There is no “fine print” that says, Freedom of Religion “only if you are Christian and you look, act and dress like everyone else”. WTH! He must be inbred…lmao!