Los Angeles Wave: Rep. Maxine Waters Joins Faith Leaders to Denounce Quran Burning
By Olu Alemoru
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, who said she was "shocked and appalled" at the plan by a Florida pastor to publicly burn 1,000 copies of the Quran, joined area faith leaders Friday to call on him to keep his pledge to cancel the controversial event.
The group included First AME Church Senior Minister, the Rev. John J. Hunter and his wife Denise and political activist and college professor, Dr. Ron Karenga and his wife Tiamoya.
The Rev. Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center, set off a firestorm when he announced his plan to burn copies of the Islamic holy book in protest at the proposed construction of a community center and mosque near ground zero in New York. Jones said he would carry it out on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City.
Jones, after meeting local Florida imam Mohammad Musri on Thursday announced a halt to the burning. He later gave mixed messages and, after being challenged by a reporter Friday whether he would go ahead with the burning, replied: "We're actually not prepared to answer that right now."
"I was shocked and appalled and could not believe what I was hearing and seeing when Pastor Jones announced that he was going to burn 1,000 [copies] of the holy Quran," Waters said.
"I made telephone calls with my friends and ministers around the country to talk about how we have to stand up against this. [As for] the proposed community center ... there has been worshiping going on there for many years and there is another mosque not too far away.
"I think that people speaking out against it because of 9/11 have a right to voice their opinion and to feel pain about what happened but in the final analysis the property belongs to the Islamic group and I expect worshipping is going to continue."
Karenga agreed, rebuking Jones severely.
"This is a question of human rights. People have a right to think and worship," he said.
"Secondly, people have no obligation to bend to aggressive and insane talk from people who are hateful and ignorant. It seems to me those people are using this [the proposed construction] as a political football."