Original story follows below: Koran-burning pastor: Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism ‘of the devil’
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has called a Florida preacher’s plan to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9/11 “insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.”
Palin made her comments in a Facebook posting Wednesday evening, in which she urged Terry Jones, the head of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, not to go ahead with the burning.
The event “will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance,” Palin wrote.
“Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don’t need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society,” Palin added.
UPDATE: FBI: Retaliation for Koran burning ‘likely’
The FBI believes that there will “likely” be some sort of retaliation for the planned Koran-burning at a Florida church this Saturday, ABC News reports.
The news network obtained a copy of a memo from the Jacksonville, Florida, FBI office entitled “Extremists Likely to Retaliate Against Florida Group’s Planned ‘International Burn a Koran Day.”
“While the FBI has no information to indicate a specific attack has been planned against the United States or US assets in response to the ‘International Burn a Koran Day’ event, the FBI assesses with high confidence that, as with past incidents perceived as acts of desecration against Islam, extremist actors will continue to threaten or attempt to harm the leaders, organizers, or attendees the event,” the memo states, as quoted at ABC.
ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS BELOW
Pastor opposed mosque construction in Germany before being forced out
Conservative CNN pundit slams Petraeus for opposing Koran-burning
Terry Jones, the president of the Florida church that’s planning to burn Korans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, doesn’t just have Islam in his sights.
The president of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, told a recent legal hearing that his non-denominational church considers “all religions [to be] of the Devil except for Christianity.”
CBS News has unearthed a deposition (PDF) from a trial in which Jones, a witness, told lawyers that he believes Christianity has become “watered down” by modern values, and for this reason it is “time to do something radical.”
“We would actually consider all religions of the Devil except Christianity,” Jones told the hearing.
Part of the testimony reads:
Q. And you believe that everything that is not from god is of the devil. Is that right?
A. Yeah, I guess so. Uh-huh. Then again, it depends on what you’re talking about. I don’t believe necessarily baseball is from the devil because it’s not from god. But I mean, basically in general, I believe that if it’s not from god, it’s from the devil. Right.
Q. Is Hinduism of the devil?
A. Yes, of course.
Q. How about Judaism?
The expression “of the devil” came up in the deposition because it forms part of the title of Jones’ book, Islam is of the Devil.
Jones also told the hearing that the church he led in Cologne, France, until the summer of 2009 was “very active” in opposing the construction of a mosque in that city.
“They were trying to build there one of the largest mosques in Europe, and we were very active against that,” he said. “So we have been in this vein for a little while.”
The German magazine Der Spiegel reported Wednesday that Jones was accused of “spiritual abuse” at the Christian Community of Cologne, the evangelical church where he was preacher until last year.
[Jones] led a charismatic evangelical church, the Christian Community of Cologne, in the western German city up until 2009. Last year, however, the members of the congregation kicked founder Jones out, because of his radicalism. One of the church’s current leaders, Stephan Baar, also told the German news agency DPA that there had been suspicions of financial irregularities in the church surrounding Jones.
A “climate of fear and control” had previously prevailed in the congregation, says one former member of the church who does not want to be named. Instead of free expression, “blind obedience” was demanded, he says.
Various witnesses gave SPIEGEL ONLINE consistent accounts of the Jones’ behavior. The pastor and his wife apparently regarded themselves as having been appointed by God, meaning opposition was a crime against the Lord. Terry and Sylvia Jones allegedly used these methods to ask for money in an increasingly insistent manner, as well as making members of the congregation carry out work.
Der Spiegel notes that Jones’ tyrannical style became too much for his congregation. They confronted him about his teachings and demands in late 2007, and last year he was forced out of the church, and returned to the United States.
He has been the president of the Dove World Outreach Center since 2001.
Jones’ plans for a burning of copies of the Koran on September 11 has now been condemned by numerous foreign countries, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called the plans “outrageous” and “aberrational.”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates also condemned the Koran burning, echoing the earlier words of Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, who said that the burning would “endanger troops and it could endanger the overall [war] effort.
“It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community,” Petraeus said.
At his blog RedState, conservative CNN contributor Erick Erickson suggested Western leaders like Petraeus “fold like a cheap suit” when confronted with the prospect of Muslim violence.
Erickson went on to cast the blame for any potential violence arising from the incident on Petraeus himself. There will be violence from the event, he wrote, “because David Petraeus and the media have decided to magnify the event and guarantee it’ll be featured on the front page of every major newspaper in the Middle East.”
Other corners of America’s conservative community have come out strongly against the Koran-burning. Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi, said “there is no excuse” for the event. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-CA) called the event “unwise.”