Gainesville pastor Terry Jones wants to put Quran on trial
Gainesville — The Gainesville pastor who ignited international outrage after announcing plans to burn the Quran now says he wants to put the holy book on trial.
Pastor Terry Jones wants to hold an event inside his Gainesville church and judge the Islamic holy book.
“My first reaction was, ‘Here we go again,'” said Imam Muhammad Musri, from the Islamic Society of Central Florida.
Musri played a big role in trying to help diffuse the dynamite Jones lit in September after announcing his plans for “International Burn a Quran Day.”
“What Terry Jones has done in the past, and is attempting to do again, is to incite violence,” said Musri.
It’s potential violence the Gainesville Police Department wants to be ready for, should the need arise.
A Gainesville police representative told News 13 they are “very aware” of Pastor Jones’ newest plans, and have sent officers to speak with him.
“He’s trying to stir a pot,” said Musri.
“The issue became a very political issue,” said Lawrence Walters, a First Amendment lawyer. “The media spotlight shined very brightly on Pastor Jones and his church.”
The media attention, according to Imam Musri, is what Jones wants the most.
Walters said it has perpetuated Jones’ actions.
“It’s caused a lot more people to pay attention to his speech, and has resulted in consequences and actions to the speech that otherwise would have never happened if the statements were not given the attention that the media provided,” he said.
“I think the media should deny him that attention, because there’s nothing good he’s trying to say,” said Musri. “He’s trying to create controversy.”
Musri said Jones’ freedom of speech comes with a high price: It hurts the U.S. image across the world.
In the News 13 newsroom, we have been engaged in extensive discussions on how to best cover Pastor Jones as we move forward.
As a media organization, we are certainly not in the business of censorship. But we are in the business of doing what’s responsible.
Ignoring what could become another event in Central Florida that ignites international outrage would not be responsible of us.
However, giving an open microphone to a religious leader whose views and actions advocate intolerance would not be responsible of us, either.
Original post: Gainesville pastor Terry Jones wants to put Quran on trial