US pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has called off his controversial Koran-burning event.
Here is his statement in full:
This has been for us a very, very difficult, trying time. We have been in much thought and prayer over this whole period.
A lot of times we were asked what would it take for us to call this thing off. We have thought it over many times. We felt very convinced that we should do this.
We thought about what would have to happen for us to call our event off. As we prayed about that, in the past we did have one idea.
This idea we put out in prayer to God. That if he would want us to call this off, if we have accomplished our goal, then our thought was the American people do not as a whole want the mosque at the Ground Zero location.
That if they were willing to either cancel the mosque at the Ground Zero location, or if they were willing to move it away from that location, we would consider that sign from God.
We have, or he has [indicating Iman Muhammad Musri, standing beside him], been in contact with the imam in New York City.
I, with the imam here, will be flying up there on Saturday to meet the imam at the Ground Zero mosque.
He has agreed to move the location. That of course cannot happen overnight. But he has agreed to move that.
We felt that that would be a sign that God would want us to do it.
The American people do not want the mosque there. And of course Muslims do not want us to burn the Koran.
The imam has agreed to move the mosque. We have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday I will be flying up there to meet with him.
This letter has completely diffused whatever anger I had toward Terry Jones. It’s just so sad. Jones is clearly addlepated—and very nearly illiterate. He’s not the enemy; he’s not worthy of the appellation. He’s like a damaged little bird banging itself against your living room window. You can’t really let the poor thing in—and if you go near it, it’ll only flitter wildly away, eventually landing under a bush somewhere, and there, after a time, dying.