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Friday, August 20, 2010

Set back for anti-Islam Book Burners

You may have heard the pretty alarming story of Pastor Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Church in the American State of Florida. The Church is a fundamentalist Christian organisation with a staunch anti-gay and anti-Islamic philosophy. The Church was founded in 1986 and Jones has been a minister working with the group almost since its inception.

The Church has constantly kept itself in the news through its deeply conservative campaigns and headline grabbing speeches. Last year it began distributing t-shirts with the slogan "Islam is the devil" emblazoned on the back and Biblical scripture on the front. Children of members of the Church were sent to school wearing the t-shirts. One was forced to change his between classes. Another student was sent home along with a further elementary school student.  It also erected billboards with a similar slogans.

The group took part in a march along with members of the Westborough Baptist Church in April 2010. The Westborough Baptists are notable for their anti-homosexual stance and their choice of protesting outside the grounds of  the funerals of fallen American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  A member of the Dove World group then published a blog post of his websote stating the groups full support for the Church's anti-homosexual message.

This anti-gay stance was seen again at the mayoral elections in Gainsville this month, where the group erected signs saying 'No Homo-Mayor' as openly gay candidate Craig Lowe stood. He was later elected and labeled the group an embarrassment to the community.

However, it is their current controversial and dangerous proposition that is garnering significant media attention. The group plans to hold a mass Koran burning on the 11th of September, the ninth anniversary of the attacks on the pentagon and world trade centre. Christian and Muslim groups alike have spoken out against the plans saying they will only lead to a greater rift between the two faiths.

Today the  interim chief of Gainseville Fire Rescue refused to grant the group a licence for the planned burning as public book burnings are banned in the city. However, the group which has less than 100 members has stated it will pursue the book burning idea. If it does, it will be sanctioned with fines.

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